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Full text of "Omni Magazine (November 1992)"



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;$3.50 NOV. 1992 


VOL. 15 NO. 2 










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First Word 

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By Thomas Dean 


Industrial cooperation 

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Visions of the Afterdeath 


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An exclusive survey on 


beliefs about 

Readers' writes 

what happens after death 





By Gregg Keizer 

of Traumas Past 


By Sara Solovitch 


Memories of 

By James D. Hornfischer 

past lives can cure 

Connecting with science 

many ailments. 


But are they real? 



By Steve Nadis 

Secrets of the 

Decorating the space 



By A. J. S. Rayi 


A new breed of hacker 


BW' ' : j«I ' ' ■ '"''■■*. mm 

has emerged, 

By Jeff Goldberg 

one that doesn't like the 


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political system 


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and may soon do some- 

By Kathryn Phillips 

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thing about it. 

Forestry reform 



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The Blossoming of 


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By Jeffrey Zygmont 


By Mark Fischetti 


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Political Science 

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The Enigma of Distance 

By Tom Dworetzky 
High-tech unemployment 

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By George Zebrowski 


A mighty rocket ship settles gently onto the rocky 

Fiction: Gravity's Angel 

Electronic Universe 

terrain of an unknown world on this 

By Tom Maddox 

By Gregg Keizer 

month's cover (Chris Moore/Artbank). Inside the 



magazine are stories about internal 



journeys to equally exotic states of mind: past lives 

By Anthony Liversidge 

By Scot Morris 

and beyond life as we know it. 


The funny side of science 

(Additional art and photo credits, page 67) 



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Ties between academia and industry must be strengthened 

By Thomas Dean 

"Significant inter- 
action between 
aGademic and in- 
dustrial institu- 
tions is rare," says 
Dean, "and has 
become rarer in 
recent years." 

Creating new technology is 
only a small part of how 
academic institutions par- 
ticipate in producing and refining 
technology. Academics in comput- 
er science depend upon interac- 
tion with industry for applications 
to drive their research, Industry 
profits from this interaction 
through solutions and deeper un- 
derstanding of its problems, and 
also gains a continuing source of 
scientists and engineers with 
broad training and specific in- 
sight into technologically relevant 
issues. Yet despite this mutual de- 
pendence, signifi- 
cant interaction be- 
tween academic 
and industrial insti- 
tutions is rare and 
has become rarer 
in recent years. 

trial interaction 
serves the interests 
not only of individu- 
al companies, but 
of U.S. industry as 
a whole. The aca- 
demic pursuit of 
generality and ele- 
gance of exposition 
is a driving force to 
support the transfer of 
the generalization of insights won 
in the pursuit of more narrow, prod- 
uct-driven research. Academia 
can be a technological conduit be- 
tween industries isolated by com- 
petition, a conduit distributing not 
application-specific trade se- 
crets, but general principles and 
widely applicable methodologies. 
Some of the major consequences 
of the current lack of interaction 
include the frequent duplication 
of design effort, the failure to rec- 
ognize and exploit the more gen- 
eral lessons to be learned from 
narrow technical solutions, and a 
generation of engineers ignorant 
of the problems driving technol- 
ogy and ill-prepared to solve 

those problems. 

At Brown University for the 
last six years and Yale for two 
years before that, my colleagues 

and I carried out research on data- 
base systems for reasoning about 
events and facts that change over 
time. By working closely with soft- 
ware developers in both academia 
and industry, our ideas have 
seen a great deal of practical re- 
finement and have become part 
of the repertoire of a growing num- 
ber of software developers. 
These results would not have 
been possible without close inter- 

s and 

action between industrial and ac- 
ademic researchers. 

In contrast, recent research at 
Brown and elsewhere on control- 
ling physical robots that interact 
in the real world and nonphysical 
robots that interact in the world of 
networked computers has 
aroused little interest from indus- 
try. The result of this disinterest is 
that the technology remains in an 
undeveloped form; graduate stu- 
dents continue to look at the the- 
oretical implications but have lit- 
tle guidance regarding particular 
applications of interest to govern- 
ment and industry. With few excep- 
tions, United States industry 
does not see the field of mobile 
robotics as an area of expansion. 

Contrary to the ivory-tower, puz- 
zle-palace image that some like 
to paint of academia, academics 
welcome industrial interest, with 
or without attached funding. Ac- 
ademia needs industry as a 
source of problems to ground its 
research and prepare its stu- 
dents. Industry needs academia 
to provide a steady stream of sci- 
entists and engineers and to pro- 
vide a longer-term perspective on 
the problems it faces. The long- 
term, knowledge-driven perspec- 
tive of academia complements 
the short-term, product-driven 
perspective of indus- 
try. Cooperation in 
which both parties re- 
tain their autonomy 
benefits both acade- 
mia and industry. 

Industry must real- 
ize that long-term prof- 
itability depends up- 
on close ties with ac- 
ademia. Academic/ 
industrial coopera- 
tion is not a luxury to 
be maintained only 
in times of economic 
health; the produc- 
tion of technology 
and technologists 
can not be turned on and off like 
a faucet. Yet large companies are 
now withdrawing support for long- 
term research and development 
(four-year and longer lead times) 
in favor of short-term projects in- 
volving small advances in exist- 
ing technologies. This trend 
must be reversed if we are not 
merely to live off the reserves left 
over from past decades of re- 
search with no vision to take us 
into the Iwenty-first century. DO 

Thomas Dean is associate pro- 
fessor of computer science at 
Brown University and co-author 
with Michael Wellman of a recent 
text: Planning and Control, Mor- 
gan Kaufmann, 1991. 



. ■■.■ ■-■■ -■■ ■■■■<-, 


Illusions of grandeur.-moving to Venus, 

and having a cow 

■:.:..■■ ■■■■. 

■ ■ ■ . ■ 

The Fault Lies Not in Themselves 

"Grand Illusions," in your June 1992 is- 
sue does an injustice to some of the 
great discoverers of the past 500 
years. So what if they twisted or deem- 
phasized data? Their greatness lies in 
their intuitive reasoning, leaps of logic, 
and hunches, if you will, about the work- 
ings of the universe. Without their intui- 
tion, scientists would be reduced to ac- 
countants and dry historians, not to men- 
tion that we'd still be in the Dark Ages. 
E. Marcus 
Tel Aviv, Israel 

I hope that you will follow Linda Marsa's 
article on scientific fraud with an article 
on the suppression of honest and ac- 
curate research by the vested interests 
.of scientists in their theories, of founda- 
tions in their programs, of pharmaceu- 
tical corporations in their products, and 
the FDA in its political correctness. Re- 
straint upon inquiry and publication, es- 
pecially with regard to life-enhancing 
and life-saving procedures, is as dan- 
gerous to the scientific enterprise and 
to the public as is the perpetration of 

Mary McDermott Shideler 
Boulder, CO 

Loved Levendis 

I haven't read a more powerful or en- 
joyable short story than Harlan Ellison's 
"The Man Who Rowed Christopher Co- 
lumbus Ashore," [July 1992] in years. 
Please give us more of Mr. Ellison. 

John M. Robbins, D.C. 
Chino, CA 

Oh Venus . . . 

Christopher McKay's interest in ter- 
raforming Mars [Interview, July 1992] 
seems like beating a dead horse — or at 
least a dead planet — when we have a 
hot prospect like Venus on which to 
speculate. The present high tempera- 
ture on Venus is the stumbling block. 
Are there high plateaus or deep cav- 
erns where the temperature might per- 
mit inoculation with bacteria? Present 
■ bacteria thrive in water on earth near vol- 
canoes in environments over 212*F. 

Could mutilated bacteria do better? 
This could jump-start the evolution of Ve- 
nus to an Earthlike atmosphere and 
temperature. Could bacteria be cul- 
tured to exist in the low H 2 environ- 
ment? I'd like to see some speculation 
on this by a biologist. 

Frank G. Pollard 
Farmington Hills, Ml 

Cow Economics 

I found your interview [June 1992] with 
Garrett Hardin deeply disturbing. I 
agree that overpopulation is an issue of 
great concern in the world today. I also 
agree with Hardin that there are a lot 
of dangerous ideas being circulated in 
our society about the issue of popula- 
tion. Unfortunately, Hardin's ideas are 
some of the most dangerous, because 
they allow the wealthy of this world to 
shift all the blame to the poor without 
questioning their own consumption-ori- 
ented lifestyles. Hardin's ideas also ob- 
scure the relationships between the af- 
fluence of the "developed" countries, 
the poverty of the majority of the 
world's people, and the implications 
this poverty has for the questions of pop- 
ulation and environmental degradation. 
To use Hardin's analogy, we do not 
have a condition in which each person 
starts with one cow, while the remain- 
ing 10 percent have six or seven cows 
apiece grazing on the common land. 
Hardin seems to focus on the 90 per- 
cent of the people who are forced by 
their poverty to do whatever they can 
to survive rather than on the overcon- 
sumption of the 1 percent who control 
over half of the world's wealth. 

Robert Ballinger 
Syracuse, NY 

Thank you, and Garrett Hardin, for the 

excellent article on the world's greatest 
problem — overpopulation. Regarding 
the efforts of many well-intentioned peo- 
ple to save the children: Remember, the 
children you save this year, you will al- 
so have to save next year. 

George Warnock 

Winnipeg, Manitoba 

Canada DO 


Computer visualization gives archaeologists -a dazzling glimpse into the past 

By Gregg Keizer 

Wild computer- 
software, archae- 
ologists have 
analyzed Hie routes 
Hernando de 

Sato may have tak- 
en through the 
American South 
(top) and re- 
created tombs from 
ancient Kan 
Madol (bottom). 

■ ^% ■ illiam Ayres may not 

I I move mountains, but 

\J %J he does move huge 

blocks of stone with just a finger. 

Ayres, an archaeologist at the 
University of Oregon, puts pow- 
erful computers to work digging 
into the past. Using computer- 
aided-design (CAD) software, a 
familiar tool to architects, Ayres 
plays with three-dimensional sim- 
ulations of one of the Pacific's 
most intriguing archaeological 
sites, Nan Madol, 

On Pohnpei, a volcanic speck 
among the Caroline Islands, na- 
tives built a city in a shallow la- 
goon by dragging quarried 
stone to the shore and erecting 
structures that rose 25 feet above 
high tide. Between 500 and 1500 
A.D., they created a complex of 
nearly 100 artificial islets reach- 
ing about half a mile into the wa- 
ter, Filled with temples, tombs, 
and homes of the religious and 
political elite, Nan Madol served 
as the stage for elaborate rituals. 
During his 13 summers at Nan 
Madol, Ayres has dug and theo- 
i his way to an understanding 

of the city and its builders. Along 
the way, he helped pioneer CAD 
in archaeology. 

"CAD is useful because it's re- 
ally difficult to visualize relation- 
ships and architectural features 
when the structure has been de- 
stroyed," Ayres says. "But we ■ 
can rebuild it on the computer." 

Measurements and drawings 
pinpointing each part of a struc- 
ture, attained through traditional 
archaeological methods, provide 
the data the CAD workstations 
and software need to re-create 
the monument. Ayres then 
"picks up" the pieces and puts 
them back together, juggling 
them until the fit seems right. 
"We're reconstructing what the 
original architecture was like- — 
the house foundations, the plat- 
forms, the enclosures that we ac- 
tually see when we map the struc- 
tures today," Ayres says. 

Such computer re-creations of- 
fer hints of what Nan Madol was 
really like, "The technology 
helps us interpret how the islands 
were actually used and the activ- 
ities that took place there," 
Ayres says. "We're in a better po- 
sition to understand how it archae- 
ologically evolved from a com- 
plex of very small, simple, artifi- 
cial islands to a massive center 
of 100 artificial islands of various 
sizes and shapes and functions." 

Ayres isn't alone in his CAD con- 
nection. James Wiseman of Bos- 
ton University is in the preliminary 
stages of his exploration of the re- 
gion around Nicopolis, a city the 
Roman Emperor Augustus found- 
ed in 29 B.C. to celebrate his vic- 
tory two years earlier over the 
fleets of Antony and Cleopatra. 
The ancient towns and fortress- 
es near Nicopolis will be picked 
apart electronically using every- 
thing from satellite imaging to 
ground-penetrating radar. "We 
plan to record above-ground mon- 
uments and to transfer the data 
into a CAD program and then car- 
ry out some 3-D computer recon- 
structions," Wiseman says. The 
Greek Archaeological Service, a 
co-sponsor of the effort, hopes 
the project will provide valuable 
information needed to help pro- 
tect ancient sites threatened by 
encroaching development. 

Several hundred miles to the 
east, in northern Syria, teams 
from the University of Melbourne 
in Australia have excavated el- 
Qitar, an ancient mountalntop for- 
tress overlooking the Euphrates 
River, Back in Australia, Clifford 
Ogleby, manager of the universi- 
ty's Computer-Aided Design Cen- 
tre, helped archaeologists create 
3-D simulations of el-Qitar, com- 
plete with walls, gates, and tow- 
ers. The Australians even added 
movement to their re-creations, 
producing animated views of the 
city as it might have looked to at- 
tackers approaching on the river. 

Closer to home, Fred Limp, di- 
rector of the Center for Advanced 
Spatial Technologies at the Uni- 
versity of Arkansas in Fayetteville, 
has built computer simulations of 
Hernando de Soto's sixteenth- 
century expedition through the 
South. "We use the technology to 
visualize different routes," Limp ex- 
plains. "We look at the most prob- 
able and analyze such things as 
slope and steepness of the area 
and then compare those to de So- 
to's narratives." The 3-D models 
confirmed some of the paths ar- 
chaeologists believe de Soto 
took from the Mississippi River to 
the Ouachita Mountains, and elim- 
inated others. 

"One of the most difficult 
things about American archaeol- 
ogy north of Mexico is the ab- 
sence of stone architecture," 
Limp notes. "What we've got are 
literally holes in the ground. GIS 
[geographical information sys- 
tems] software lets us see what 
it all looked like." 

Limp has used computers in 
his work for 15 years, and he's 
convinced that they will become 
only more vital to archaeology. 
One day, he declares, we'll walk 
through simulated exhibits in a mu- 
seum or routinely use our home 
computers to re-create monu- 
ments of the past. DO 



Reconnecting ourselves with the meaning of-science 

By James D. Hornfischer 

When Galileo 
used math 
to avoid Church 
he began a trend 
which made 
science less mean- 
ingful to the 
average person. 

10 OMNI 

The brainy physicist who, 
despite his knowledge 
of warped time and 
curved space, cannot fix a flat bi- 
cycle tire is a justly celebrated 
American folk hero. His awkward- 
ness with practical matters puts 
his expertise into perspective. 
He's human, and he's aware of 
his limitations. 

Joseph Schwartz is such a 
physicist. In The Creative Mo- 
men!: How Science Made itself Ali- 
en to Modern Culture {Harper- 
Collins, May 1992), Schwartz re- 
calls traveling to the Ukraine in 
the 1960s to visit his family. A stu- 
dent of high-energy physics at 
Berkeley, he tried to explain the 
gist of his studies to his grand- 
mother. Somewhat overawed, 
she innocently asked whether he 
could repair her television. He 
couldn't it bothered him. Using 
this revelation as a springboard 
io larger issues, Schwartz argues 

that Americans 

are missing the 
point, the mean- 
ing, of science. 

So what Bxact- 
ly does science 
"mean"? Accord- 
ing to Schwartz, 
"Science is an ac- 
cumulation of writ- 
ten narratives 
about our relation- 
ship to nature." 
Ell He argues that 

when science 
losi :cuch with na- 
ture, the general 
public lost touch 
with science. 
But how could science lose 
touch with nature, the very object 
of its inquiry? To answer the ques- 
tion, Schwartz looks to history. 
When Galileo's study of the mo- 
tion of heavenly bodies ran him 
afoul of the Catholic Church, he 
chose to couch his arguments- in 
the cryptic language of mathemat- 

phers, the Pope was pleased, 
and a trend was begun. 

Isaac Newton, too, deliberate- 
ly clouded his theories about grav- 
ity and motion with the symbols 
of math. His Phncipia opened the 
door for the onset of a mathemat- 
ical babel in science for the next 
three centuries. "Number has be- 
come irrationally reverenced," 
Schwartz writes. 'The form in 
which understanding in physics 
is expressed has been mistaken 
for the understanding itself," 

Nowhere is the misunderstand- 
ing more profound than with Ein- 
stein's theory of general relativi- 
ty. Today Einstein is the paradigm 
of the arcane. But it was not al- 
ways so. In the five years after its 
publication in 1916, relativity en- 
ergized revolutionaries. With its ba- 
sic notion that nothing is abso- 
lute, that even the experience of 
time itself is not uniform but var- 
ies with an object's velocity, it over- 
turned assumptions about the 
structure of the universe. Howev- 
er, the spread of industrialization, 
in which complex products 
spilled forth miraculously from mys- 
terious factories, alienated people 
from the processes of science 
and technology. Not knowing 
how their radios worked, people 
gave up on trying to connect rel- 
ativity to their daily lives. Einstein 
became a wizard, his theory 
strange runes on parchment. 

In today's labs, researchers in 
many fields accept physics as 
the queen of the sciences. Molec- 
ular biologists, for example, scru- 
tinizing ever-smaller particles of 
living matter, look past the larger 
processes of nature that might 
show the way to cures for diseas- 
es such as cancer and AIDS. 
"For the physicist," Schwartz 
notes, "to understand the quark 
is to understand the world. The 
rest is just detail." It's like trying 

to understand the game of base- 
ball by taking a microscope to a 
catcher's mitt. 

The vital questions are: Can sci- 
entists change rigidly held mech- 
anistic strategies and reconnect 
with nature? and, How can we, 
the public, pressure them to do 
so when the necessary expertise 
is limited to experts able to com- 
municate only with each other? 

This dilemma is at the heart of 
another important book on sci- 
ence and culture, Neil Postman's 
Technopoly: The Surrender of Cul- 
ture to Technology (Knopf, Feb- 
ruary 1992). A mischievous spir- 
it, Postman suggests an experi- 
ment: Tell a friend that according 
to a recent study, the more peo- 
ple jog, the less intelligent they be- 
come. (.You can make up any 
wild claim you like.) Postman has 
found that two-thirds of his sub- 
jects will not wholly disbelieve 
such crazy theories. Why? He pro- 
poses that science's revelations 
are so commonly .perplexing that 
we've lost a consistent picture of 
the world that could be used to 
assess a given idea. Our judg- 
ment has been cowed by the 
"thought-world" of Technopoly, in 
which the findings of endless stud- 
ies wield unquestioned authority 
without a sense of meaning or pur- 
pose. Technology, which once 
served us well, spawned Tech- 
nopoly, our master. 

By advocating science criti- 
cism, much akin to criticism in the 
arts, Schwartz and Postman wish 
to restore science's relevance to 
Ihe larger culture. While they are 
better at defining problems than 
finding solutions, they thoughtful- 
ly build upon the work of such 
thinkers as C. P. Snow and (Post- 
man particularly) George Orwell. 
If you worry about where the diz- 
zying technological develop- 
ments of our day might lead us, 
both of these books deserve 
some time in your lap. DO 


Making the space station livable requires more than rugs and curtains 

By Steve Nadis 


plans for the 


module on the 

U.S. space 

station Freedom 

In 1985, a year after Ronald Rea- 
gan endorsed the construction 
of a new U.S. space station, de- 
sign work began on the station's 
private crew quarters. The design- 
ers figured that a 150-cubic-foot 
cabin would enable astronauts to 
work and sleep in different posi- 
tions and even have a private 
conversation with a colleague. 
Then budget cuts limited the 
crew quarters to 75 cubic feet, 
about the size of a telephone 
booth. Still, at least astronauts 
would have the personal space 
considered essential for life in con- 
fined environments. However, 
when the station was scaled 
down yet again in 1991, the crew 
quarters disappeared altogether. 
They've been replaced by "priva- 
cy accommodations," which con- 
sist of sleeping bags that the 
crew must tether to the walls, 

places to eat, 

meet, and 
exereise— hut 

no private 
crew quarters. 

says Joe Hale, a human-factors 
engineer at NASA's Marshall 
Space Flight Center. 

Trying to make the craft's inte- 
rior livable while the entire struc- 
ture has been reconfigured time 
after time has sorely tried the pa- 
tience of those involved in the proj- 
ect. The basic contours of the 
space station have been re- 
solved — for now. It will consist of 
a 28-foot-long U.S. lab module; 
two 44-foot lab mods, one Euro- 
pean and one Japanese; and a 
28-foot U.S. habitation module for 
sleeping, eating, and exercising. 
The shuttle will drop off four as- 
tronauts for missions lasting be- 

tween 90 and 180 days. 

To avoid disorientation that 
may occur in a weightless envi- 
ronment, up and down will remain 
constant throughout the entire 
ship. The floors on all the mod- 
ules will be on the side of the 
craft lacing Earth. The shades of 
paint oh compartment walls will 
provide further orientation: light- 
er ones on top and darker ones 
on the bottom. "On Earth, we get 
our cues for which way is up 
from the natural environment," ex- 
plains Yvonne Clearwater, a NA- 
SA Ames environmental psychol- 
ogist and head of the habitability 
research program. "Even under- 
water, it's almost always brighter 
above and darker below." 

Reversible wall panels with dif- 
ferent colors and textures will 
give astronauts the chance to 
modify their environment to 
some extent, and lighting effects 
can also make the modules 
more appealing. "Uniform lighting 
is boring; it allows you to see all 
the space at the same time," Clear- 
water says. 

Windows are a key design ele- 
ment because they offer "psycho- 
logical escape," according to Jim 
Wise, a human-faciors psycholo- 
gist at Battelle Pacific Northwest 
Labs who has worked on the 
space station design as a NASA 
research contractor. The space 
station will have at least one win- 
dow in the wardroom (dining and 
meeting area), plus one or two mul- 
tipaned cupolas that will afford 
striking views of Earth. Photos or 
paintings of landscapes can 
have a similarly relaxing effect. 
"People like looking outdoors, 
even if it's only a simulated 
view," Clearwater says. 

On the Russian space station 
Mir, the cosmonauts often prefer 
watching video images of the 
homeland to looking out the win- 
dows. Mir also has a public-ad- 
dress system which broadcasts 

familiar sounds from Earth — ani- 
mal sounds, street noises, and mu- 
sic specially programmed for work- 
ing and eating. Instead of 
Muzak, NASA's astronauts will be 
able to listen to anything they 
want on personal headsets. 

With virtually every cubic inch 
of the space station accounted 
for, great care goes into the small- 
est details, including the size and 
shape of the wardroom table. Dec- 
ades of research on U.S. and Rus- 
sian astronauts, submarine 
crews, and Antarctic teams 
point to a simple conclusion, 
notes B. J. Bluth of the Space Sta- 
tion Program Office; "Productivi- 
ty is related to design. Simple 
things can be simply frustrating." 
That's especially true on long- 
term space flights, which are con- 
sidered fundamentally different 
from short space-shuttle junkets. 
"It's the difference between go- 
ing on a date and getting mar- 
ried," Bluth says. 

The longest U.S. mission so far 
was an 84-day Skylab stint in 
1973-74. The former Soviets 
have had much more experience, 
including a mission lasting a mind- 
boggling 366 days. Their suc- 
cess stems largely from an uncom- 
promising commitment to the well- 
being of their cosmonauts. 

Human factors hold a much low- 
er priority in the U.S. space pro- 
gram. "We know how to build in 
habitat features that alleviate 
stress and boredom, but those 
are just the things that get 
axed," Wise says. 

The space station may offer 
worse conditions than its prede- 
cessor of 25 years, Skylab — a 
fad. Wise considers unaccepta- 
ble. "If we take out the features 
that make the space station hab- 
itable, the project isn't worth do- 
ing in its -current form. All we'll dem- 
onstrate is that people can't live 
and work to their full potential in 
space." DO 



Are heart bypass operations hazardous to the brain? 

By Jeff Goldberg 

some of the 
400,000 annual by- 
pass patients 
may experience 
subtle and 
lasting mental 
side effects. 

For many patients, bypass 
surgery is a double- 
edged sword. Although 
the operation unquestionably fix- 
es the failing heart, it can exact 
a mental and emotional toll, with 
symptoms ranging from a slight 
loss of IQ to severe depression. 
As many as one half of all bypass 
patients may experience persis- 
tent psychological side effects, 
estimates Dr. 
John Murkin, a 
Canadian phy- 
sician who be- 
lieves symp- 
toms might re- 
sult from sub- 
tle forms of 
brain damage 
caused by the 
surgery itself. 

An anesthe- 
siologist on 
the open-heart- 
surgery team 
at the Universi- 
ty Hospital at 
the University 
of Western On- 
tario, Murkin re- 
ceived funding 
from the Ontar- 
io Heart and Stroke Foundation to 
work with psychologists and neu- 
rologists to test such factors as 
hand-eye coordination, concentra- 
tion, reflexes, and short-term mem- 
ory of 300 patients before and af- 
ter bypass procedures. Fully half 
the patients studied had lower 
test scores seven days following 
surgery, Murkin' found. Despite 
marked improvement in their phys- 
ical health, a third of these pa- 
tients still exhibited subtle men- 
tal deficits when they were reex- 
amined two months later. 

"Their psychological and neu- 
rological performance was clear- 
ly impaired," says Murkin. "They 
changed, and the only event 
that took place was that they had 
undergone heart surgery." Murk- 

in cautions thai most of the symp- 
toms were mild. "Their intelli- 
gence scores are a little lower; 
they don't handle stress as well, 
don't make decisions as clearly. 
They're just not as sharp as they 
were." Even if the effects are mod- 
est — "the mental equivalent of 
gaining ten points on your golf 
game," according to Murkin — 
the approximately 400,000 cor- 
onary bypass procedures per- 
formed in the United States each 
year provide "a powerful multipli- 
er," demanding further research. 

His concern was echoed recent- 
ly by a six-nation study, pub- 
lished in 1990 by German cardi- 
ac surgeon, Georg Rodewald, 
and Allen Willner, an American 
psychologist, who found that the 1 
aftermath of open-heart surgery 
can sometimes be marked by 
stroke, severe cases of anxiety 
and depression, or even halluci- 
nations. Their study concluded 
thai bypass surgery produces 
more psychological trauma than 
any other major surgery, gener- 
ating emotional disorders in as 
many as 50 percent of patients. 

"Now we need to find out how 
long these problems persist and 
how we can modify our present 
techniques to prevent them," Murk- 
in insists. One possible explana- 
tion, he thinks, may stem from the 
fact that to minimize tissue dam- 
age to the heart during bypass sur- 
gery, the patient's blood is 
cooled about 10 degrees Centi- 
grade. As a result, levels of C0 2 
in the blood decrease. Carbon di- 
oxide is critically important in reg- 
ulating blood flow to the brain. To 
compensate for this loss, the doc- 
tors routinely add extra C0 2 to the 
blood as it circulates through the 
heart-lungs machine, which is 
used during bypass surgery to 
pump and filter blood while the sur- 
geon grafts veins from the pa- 
tient's leg to replace clogged 
heart arteries. 

Ironically, Murkin suspects 
this process might allow microem- 
boli — tiny particles and gas bub- 
bles — to enter the circulation, 
causing brain-cell-damaging rnin- 
istrokes, "We're beginning to 
think that adding C0 2 while the 
blood cools is wrong," he adds. 
"It actually increases blood flow 
to the brain to levels greater 
than necessary for normal func- 
tion. We may be interfering with 
nature's way of preventing the 
damage' we're seeing. Lowering 
blood flow is more appropriate dur- 
ing surgery. Less blood flow may 
mean fewer emboli will reach the 
brain, and, presumably, less neu- 
rological damage." 

Murkin's provocative findings 
have been criticized by some col- 
leagues, -who contend that by- 
pass surgery's 98-percent suc- 
cess rate against chronic heart dis- 
ease overshadows any potential 
for harm, "The benefits far out- 
weigh the risks of subtle forms of 
neurological damage," states Pat- 
rick McCarthy, a staff cardiac sur- 
geon at the Cleveland Clinic. 
"These patients have a life-threat- 
ening disease. A patient should 
be happy if the only effect is that 
he scores less well on a test." 

Murkin argues that neurologi- 
cal and psychological side ef- 
fects should not be overlooked in 
the midst of dramatic strides for- 
ward in the operating room. "The 
normal examination after bypass 
surgery consists of the physician 
standing at the foot of the bed 
and asking, 'How are you, Mr. 
Smith?' If the patient says okay, 
you chalk up another medical tri- 
umph," Murkin observes. "We're 
saying that even though we've re- 
paired someone's heart, now he's 
got a problem with his brain. May- 
be it's subtle, but we should look 
to see whether there are things 
we can do differently during the 
procedure that might help to min- 
imize these problems." DO 

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A grass-roots organization changes the fate -of the forest 

By Kathryn Phillips 

falls in 

the tores!, this 

group of 

and Forest 
Service employ- 
ees hears it. 

^^fter U.S. Forest Service bi- 
M^^L ologist Marynell Oechs- 
m % ner was asked to deter- 
mine how a proposed timber 
sale would afteci wildlife, she did 
what she thought was right. She 
told the truth. 

Oechsner believed the logging 
plan would open too many roads 
and cut too much timber in import- 
ant grizzly bear terri- 
tory in the Kootenai 
National Forest in 
northwestern Mon- 
tana. Unless the 
plan was changed, 
the biologist report- 
ed, the great bear 
would be more vulner- 
able to extinction. . 

Oechsner soon dis- 
covered that the 
truth wasn't what the 
Forest Service want- 
ed to hear — at least 
not in her district 
where the timber in- 
dustry was a big 
of jobs and revenue. She 
would later testify at a Congres- 
sional hearing that the district rang- 
er would not accept her report un- 
less she changed it. 

Oechsner refused. Within a 
few months she received her on- 
ly bad job performance review in 
14 years of government service. 
Oechsner's experience isn't an iso- 
lated incident, according to Jeff 
DeBonis, a former Forest Service 
employee who founded the Asso- 
ciation of Forest Service Employ- 
ees for Environmental Ethics 
(AFSEEE) in 1989. In some dis- 
tricts, he says, employees feel 
pressured to change their environ- 
mental assessments to. clear the 
way for timber sales. 

What'is unusual about Oechs- 
ner is that she went public with 
her problem— recently testifying 
about it at a U.S. House subcom- 
mittee hearing on timber sales. In- 
fact, a quiet internal debate with- 

in the Forest Service increasingly is 
becoming loud and public as em- 
ployees push for reform. "There's 
a civil war going on in the Forest Ser- 
vice," DeBonis says. 

On one side is Forest Service 
old guard, dominated by career 
foresters who believe the agen- 
cy is right on target when it 
comes to logging and mining pol- 
icies. On the other side are em- 
ployees who think the agency is 
too beholden to industry. 

This reform group is dominat- 
ed by younger employees, often 
found among the Forest Service 
"ologists" — the biologists, archae- 
ologists, and other scientists 
charged with protecting the for- 
est's fish, wildlife, and recreation- 
al resources. Also included are for- 
esters like DeBonis who tend to 
look at a forest more as an eco- 
system and less as a timber- 
man's shopping mall. 

In February, Congress's Office 
of Technology Assessment con- 
cluded in a report that the U.S. For- 
est Service isn't doing enough to 
balance logging demands with 
the need to protect the forest ec- 
osystem. It.was just the latest in 
a stream of studies that have crit- 
icized the Forest Service's re- 
source management. 

Forest Service spokesman An- 
drew Fisher defends the agency, 
however, saying it works hard to 
satisfy ecosystem needs and re- 
sponsibly manage timber resourc- 
es. "Over 70 percent of Forest Ser- 
vice lands are off-limits to timber 
harvesting," he says. And, he 
notes, two years ago the agency 
launched "New Perspectives" to 
better integrate ecosystem 
needs into forest management. 

But to DeBonis, the OTA's find- 
ings echo what he and many For- 
est Service employees have 
been saying for years. Like 
Oechsner, DeBonis found himself 
butting heads with his supervi- 
sors while working in 1989 as a 

timber sales planner and admin- 
istrator in the Willamette National 
Forest in western Oregon, one of 
the most heavily logged of the For- 
est Service's holdings. 

One day DeBonis was sent to 
check the site of a timber sale. "I 
was appalled," he recalls. A moun- 
tainside wash, once thick with 
tall firs, was cut bald. More log- 
ging in the area was likely to 
cause erosion that would muddy 
the downstream home of salmon 
and st'eelhead. Logging, more- 
over, would barge through protect- 
ed spotted ow! habitat. 

DeBonis wrote a report urging 
revisions in the plans. When his 
plan was not accepted, he 
leaked it to environmentalists. 
Soon the national press began 
writing about DeBonis, sparking 
a public debate about Forest Ser- 
vice timber policy, 

DeBonis responded by found- 
ing AFSEEE and ended a 12- 
year career with the agency in 
1990 to work full-time for the or- 
ganization. Today the group has 
8,000 members— nearly 2,000 of 
whom are Service employees. 

The organization doesn't bar- 
gain for hours or pay, like a un- 
ion. Instead, it argues for Forest 
Service employees' rights to ex- 
press their professional opinions 
without threat of losing their 
jobs. It presses the Forest Service 
to reform. And it has become a 
key resource for Congress. 

Forest Service spokesman Fish- 
er says AFSEEE's impact on the 
agency has been negligible, not- 
ing that its Forest Service mem- 
bers represent less than 5 per- 
cent of the agency's work force. 
Nevertheless, some district rang- 
ers have banned DeBonis from 
talking to employees, an action De- 
Bonis takes as a sign the agen- 
cy believes his organization is ef- 
fective. As Oechsner says, 
"AFSEEE is helping us small-po- 
tato people be heard." DQ 



Has manufacturing turned up the 'hype on human surrogates? 

By Jeffrey Zygmont 

Artist Diego 
Rivera did not ro- 
manticize the 
laborer's worth: 
The men in 
his frescoes strain 
at back-break- 
ing tasks. He want- 
ed automation 
to (roe them from 
menial labor. 

■ A | hen Mexican muralist 
I I Diego Rivera visited 
%m \m Ford's Rouge Com- 
plex in 1932, he witnessed an 
apotheosis of human enterprise: 
toil and dynamism transforming 
heaps of iron ore into automo- 
biles. He painted it as an intimate 
synchrony of men and machines. 
Rivera's frescoes at the Detroit In- 
stitute of Arts portray auto mak- 
ing as a self-contained, sealed- 
off undertaking in which serpen- 
tine conveyors choreograph with 
strong-armed workers beneath 
idolized turbines. It's an infernal 
world, where perfect order ap- 
pears chaotic because your sens- 
es are simply overwhelmed by 
the immensity of it. 

Some 60 years later, the vista 
within the world's newest car fac- 
tory mimics Rivera's vision remark- 
ably. Chrysler Corporation's Jef- 
ferson North Assembly Plant in De- 
troit contains nearly seven miles 
of conveyors. About 1 ,000 work- 
ers ply the assembly line during 
each of the plant's two shifts mak- 
ing Chrysler's new Jeep Grand 
Cherokee family wagons. Most of 
them work in the final assembly 
section, fitting and fastening 
parts to car bodies that have 
been welded together by robots 
and superhuman handlers. Peo- 
ple in final assembly work in 
twos and threes, at stations may- 
be 20 teet apart, walking beside 
the slowly conveyed car bodies 
to install brakes and wires and 
seats and engines and ashtrays 
even. In all, about 1 ,800 separate 
parts go into each Cherokee — 
many, like engine and transmis- 

sion, comprise hundreds of 
parts themselves. A finished ve- 
hicle rolls out of final assembly ev- 
ery 80 seconds. To appreciate 
the accomplishment, you have to 
stand at the midpoint of the cen- 
tral aisle that's as wide as a coun- 
try highway and takes 460 steps 
to traverse, amid the din and 
whir and clank of power tools, be- 
neath the ceiling that's three sto- 
ries up and obscured by criss- 
crossing beams and ducts and 
catwalks and conveyor returns 
and pipes, watching the inces- 
sant motion of machine-wielding 
workers who match their pace to 
the ineluctable creep of the as- 
sembly line. 

Of course, some significant ad- 
vances in auto making attest to 
the six decades that have inter- 
vened since Rivera painted his 
masterwork. Computer controllers 
in cabinets the size of bank-vault 
doors are everywhere. Their ac- 
cession is so advanced that in 
some sections they banish work- 
ers entirely. Robots now rule the 
paint shop, where human labor- 
ers used to foul up when their 
arms fatigued from the heavy 
spray guns. The body shop is so 
automated that a driver atop a yel- 
low forklift looks eerily misplaced 
as he cruises a wide aisle be- 
tween the unmanned welding sta- 
tions where car floors and sides 
and roofs get fried together to 
form vehicle hulls, 

Still, Chrysler calls Jefferson 
North a workers' plant. Walls are 
white, and conveyor lines are col- 
or coded in magenta, teal, or- 
ange, lemon yellow, and apple 

green. Hand tools are more light- 
weight. The plant has playing 
fields and exercise rooms. 

Now it seems that after years 
of trying to match the capabilities 
of workers with computer-driven 
machines, companies are waking 
up to the obvious: people are the 
ultimate robots, possessing the 
judgment, the versatility, adapta- 
bility, flexibility, and reprogram- 
mability that machine designers 
still only dream about. 

But machines don't call in 
sick. They occasionally break 
down, but they never sass back. 
Besides, industrial robots handle 
repetitive tasks very well. Even at 
Jefferson, the workers' plant, au- 
tomation claims new territory. 
Windshields are installed automat- 
ically, whereas Chrysler used to 
team workers with robots to put 
the glass in place. 

The relationship between work- 
ers and automation will continue 
to evolve, because human capa- 
bilities remain fixed while ma- 
chine intelligence and dexterity ad- 
vance. Already it's feasible in cer- 
tain operations to run machines 
without people, as long as work- 
ers maintain and set them up. 
Why couldn't the whole job even- 
tually become peopleless? 

Before specters of mechano- 
domination and mass unemploy- 
ment appear, consider that if the 
pace of automation is relentless, 
it is also very slow: Sixty years of 
advances only reaffirms the val- 
ue of human labor at Jefferson. 
Machines still have a long way to 
go before they exceed the capa- 
bilities of their creators. DQ 



Just when you thought your fancy white-collar job was safe 

By Tom Dworetzky 

I was having a bad dream. In it 
I whipped open the paper and 
saw the headline: "High-Tech 
Jobs Follow Low: Leave Country: 
Nothing Left for Anyone." 

The story said that because of 
the availability of well-educated 
people in places such as Asia or 
the Commonwealth of Independ- 
ent States, multinationals were as- 

U.S. leaders 
excused the loss 
of our manu- 
facturing base and 
work by saying, 
"Don't worry, 
lobs will 
lake their place." 

24 OMNI 

signing all of their high-tech R&D 
work to offshore workers. 
Phones and faxes were all they 
needed. Unfortunately, even 
though I'm awake now, this is not 
by any stretch just a bad dream. 
But first a brief historical aside. 
Consider England in the late 
1700s. The biggest Boyz in the In- 
dustrial Hood had built their em- 

pire by importing raw material 
and exporting manufactured 
goods, most notably fine textiles. 
Their edge: advanced technol- 
ogy in the form of sophisticated 
automatic looms. American entre- 
preneurs couldn't just go to Brit- 
ain, however, and buy their ad- 
vanced weaving machines. 
They had to steal them. English 
law made it illegal for workmen 
knowledgeable about the looms 
to emigrate. The former colonies, 
nonetheless, regularly advertised 
in the British papers. Noticing one 
such enticing offer, a young Der- 
byshire apprentice named 
Samuel Slater snuck out of his 
country with all the designs neat- 
ly tucked in his noodle and 
wound up building the first suc- 
cessful textile factory in the 
United States. 

The relevant point: not that 
crime pays, but that knowledge 
and technology are unstoppably 
portable. This is even truer today 
than 200 years ago. In our global 
economy, information and knowl- 
edge flow everywhere instantane- 
ously. Jobs follow that knowledge. 

Public schooling provided an 
American labor pool able to take 
advantage of new technology 
and outproduce its competition. 
The collapse of our present edu- 
cation system comes at an espe- 
cially bad time. Simultaneously, ad- 
vances in transportation and tel- 
ecommunications allow employ- 
ers to make use of educated peo- 
ple wherever they are. 

The opening of the former So- 
viet Union, for example, has start- 
ed to make my nightmare come 
true. The United States now em- 
ploys highly qualified, high-ener- 
gy physicists at a Moscow insti- 
tute for about $21 ,000 a year. Try 
buying an American physicist for 
that. Data entry, typesetting, 
phone sales, computer program- 
ming, and other types of employ- 
ment have also found offshore ha- 

vens where workers are skilled, ed- 
ucated, and a good buy. 

True, the job-flight deluge 
hasn't really built up to a tsunami 
yet. Companies that have attempt- 
ed to go global with R&D people 
scattered all over the world have 
run into problems. The touchy- 
feely aspect of work is still impor- 
tant. Phones, faxes, and Fed Ex 
don't really provide a total substi- 
tute for proximity. But as fiber op- 
tics spreads its tentacles around 
the planet, as the aerospace 
plane (ours or someone else's) 
makes it possible to gather peo- 
ple together in the same room 
even though they're miles away, 
the moment of truth will arrive. 

Then, only efficiency in process- 
ing, manufacture, and productiv- 
ity of our work force will ensure a 
place at the world's job bazaar. 
Availability of capital, access to 
raw materials, and possession of 
competitive technology will all be 
equal anywhere on earth. Only a 
nation's people resources will 
make the difference, 

If we lose our glam-tech gigs, 
all we'll have left is the export of 
raw materials (like our trees in the 
Northwest) and the import of man- 
ufactured goods; Thai's the work- 
ing definition of an economic col- 
ony, That's the short end of the 
global trade stick. 

Say goodbye to lucrative re- 
search jobs, hello to the unemploy- 
ment line. Soon vocations in com- 
puter design and programming, 
physics, and other glam-tech 
work will go the way of garment 
and steel-mill work: offshore. The 
next wave of cheap labor will be 
the well-educated, sophisticated 
engineering types working out of 
Eastern Europe, Asia, the former 
USSR, and Third World countries. 
They will do the work for a frac- 
tion of the salary of their Ameri- 
can counterparts who by then 
may be gas-pump jockeys if 
they can find any work al all. DO 


Bane of 

By Gregg Keizer 

■ ou can just forge; abou: 
^■^J judging the presidential 
I candidates by how they 
handle the talk-show circuit or 
even how they cajole the House 
into transforming position papers 
into legislation. We know how to 
evaluate Clinton and Bush: with 
a day or two in front of a comput- 
er playing games. 

In this electronic universe, can- 
didates can be tested long be- 
fore we give them the keys to the 
White House. Think of this GDAT 
(Game & Digital Aptitude Test) as 
a political simulator of sorts, a 
way to put a prospective presi- 
dent in a decision-making cruci- 
ble without any danger- of dam- 
aging the country. We make. pi- 
lots practice on simulators — why 
shouldn't we let George and Bill 
practice before they play with the 
real thing? 

The first GDAT task tests pa- 
tience and perseverance: Set up 
a no-name PC clone, install 
Wing Commander It on the hard 

disk drive, and then get the 

game to run. If a guy can't figure 
this out on his own (no help from 
political handlers or Secret Ser- 
vice, please), he'll never puzzle 
out the country's troubles. Ten 
points for finishing; five for just get- 
ting the PC turned on. This .one's 
a iossup, though Bush supposed- 
ly uses a PC in the Oval Office. 
Next on the GDAT is a quick 
game of Tern's Classic, that ad- 
dictive puzzle game where 
blocks fall from the sky. It'll test 
reflexes and quick-thinking skills, 
both essential to dealing with a 
fast-changing world. How can the 
president make the right move in 
Bosnia if he can't in Tetris? 

Foreign policy's third on the 
GDAT. Sit Bush and Clinton- in 
front of a PC running Balance of 
Power, a classic geopolitical sim- 
ulator that puts them head-to- 
head with the ex-Soviet Union in 
a game of nuclear chicken. The 
USSR may be dead, but the 
game will still reliably test each 
man's coolness un- 
der crisis. Twenty 
points to anyone 
who survives the 
game, and immedi- 
ate disqualification 
from the race if the 
game ends with a nu- 
clear conflagration. 

Each man may 
claim to be the envi- 
ronmental candidate, 
but why take their 
word? Let's find out 
with SimEarth or Glob- 
al Effect, two games 
of planetary ecology. 
Can they turn off glob- 
ig or keep 
endangered spe- 
alive? Manage 
the forests or man- 
age to eradicate 
ms of life 
forms? Ten 
points for the 

best-run planet (as judged by a 
panel of Nobel Prize winners); 
five points for simply keeping the 
world running. Bush will have to 
cheat on this one; whispers from 
Gore give Clinton the edge. 

SimCity, SirnEarth's predeces- 
sor, makes a great inner-city ex- 
am. This urban planner on the PC 
doesn't include South LA.-style 
riots, but it'll test the candidates' 
abilities to manage city growth 
and even give us some insights 
into how eager they are to raise 
taxes. See if Clinton throws mon- 
ey at problems, as his detractors 
claim, and test Bush's free-enter- 
prise zones. Ten points for a hap- 
py SimCity populous; minus five 
points if the little people toss the 
player out of the mayor's office. 

Games can't cover everything, 
Of course. There's no budget sim- 
ulator, for instance, to test each 
man's skill with numbers. Instead, 
the GDAT uses a Lotus 1-2-3 or 
Microsoft Excel spreadsheet 
that tallies up federal income and 
lists government's expenses. The 
candidates must fiddle with the 
numbers until the bottom line's a 
wash — no deficit allowed. 

We can even test candidates 
for the vice president's spot. In 
fact, it's easy, since the only skill 
a VP really needs is golf. We'll run 
each potential veep through 18 
holes of PGA Tour Golf for Win- 
dows. Bush's man Quayle 
should capture this easily unless 
the GDAT throws in a spelling 
game like Super Solver's Spell- 
bound! (Potato. . . P-0-T-A-T-O). 

But why stop there? We test 
kids all the time, looking for the 
best and the worst. Why not do 
the same with every politico? Why 
not uncover the gifted public ser- 
vants and spot the dullards? 

I only want one thing for my 
idea: the franchise on the reme- 
dial classes that'll coach the 
GDAT. I'll be richer than Croesus 
in nothing flat. OQ 

You always come back to the basics: !Ji^»i 

KK;-Sl>o;sS!Hli: [ l"S C :'• i l. : . C :■ r "I ■ L i LU.I Ah. I ■/: ? . ; i r: , !■■., . , ,-, ■ Krr. ;-. :.: I- v 


Striking it rich in dinomania. Plus, huffing and puffing pollution away, 

and the truth behind the sound bites 

Dinosaurs are big — bigger than ever. 
They are the subject of 300 current 
books, a prime-time television series, no 
less than four upcorrrrg movies — includ- 
ing Jurassic Park— and myriad decora- 
tions from toilet paper to T-shirts. 
What's feeding this Mesozoic media frenzy? Our con- 
tinuing fascination with creatures at once fantastic and re- 
al, and a vibrant science, whose odd characters make odd- 
er discoveries at an awe-inspiring rate — a new dinosaur 
species discovered every seven weeks, on average. 

But what dinosaur paleontologists realize from dinomania 
is less than nothing. The total annual budget for all dinosaur 
explorations around the world is less than $1 ,000,000. To put 
this hardship in perspective, consider the problems of trans- 
portation alone. Researchers in the former Soviet Union hitch- 
hike to dig sites. Two ot the most di- 
nosaur-rich nations on earth, Mongo- 
lia and Argentina, have only a single 
broken-down jeep each for paleon- 
tological research. 

Journalists and scientists are not 
taught to be advocates. But some- 
where in my travels with dinosaur sci- 
entists, the imbalance between dino- 
saur commerce and dinosaur sci- 
ence hit home. For paleontologist 
Jack Horner, perhaps the moment of 
truth came when helping film a doc- 
umentary at a I rex dig for the Mu- 
seum of the Rockies, whose entire dig budget— $5,000— 
was less than the cost of the film canisters. Certainly, dinosaur 
exploitation hit home for Johns Hopkins University dinosaur 
scientist David Weishampel when he took his children to see 
the animated Land Before Time and discovered not the slight- 
est resemblance to a true dinosaur world or any acknowledg- 
ment of the contributions of dinosaur science. 

Many prosper from dinomania, but among scientists, on- 
ly a mediagenic handful are singled out for consultation on 
toys, rubber robots, or films. Most manufacturers, and too 
many museums, produce dinosaur images and ex- 
hibits based on outmoded or half-baked notions, 
never consulting those who've researched tl 
subject. Instead of a scientifically accurate, 
engagingly fresh representation, our 
children get the same stale dino- 
saur dope. 

As a result of com- 
mercial rnisrep- 

i SisntatiOrs c.nci hsliii .:ic ial neglect t a science, children's 
dawning interest in science is often sguashed permanently, 
a process paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould calls, "the 
great dinosaur ripoff." 

And the rest of us remain caught in these rnisper- 
ceptions as well. Most Americans, according- to a 
recent poll, believe dinosaurs lived at the same 
time as primitive humans, when we actually 
missed each other, Fred Flintstone and Di- 
no excepted, by 64 million years. 

What's to be done? As the only pre- 
viously reliable source of funding for re- 
search—government grants — dries up, 
scientists must look elsewhere for support. 
And to create better educational oppor- 
tunities for children, scientists — and jour- 
nalists — must take 
on an active role in commerce. 

. To address dinosaur abuse head- 
on, I've joined several scientists and 
popularizers to form The Dinosaur So- 
ciety, a nonprofit alliance of scien- 
tists, artists, educators, and writers 
worldwide. We've created a month- 
ly newspaper for children, Dino 
Times, with "all the news that's old," 
and a kid's dinosaur club to give chil- 
dren accurate and up-to-date im- 
ages of dinosaurs, dinosaur scien- 
tists, and the scientific process itself. 
A quarterly newspaper for adults, The Dinosaur Report, fills 
the same void for older dinosaur aficionados. We're also build- 
ing museum exhibits, the Society's seal of approval is be- 
ing awarded to commercial products that achieve our 
goals, and we're offering manufacturers the services of scien- 
tists and artists. 

It's too late to save the dinosaurs. But dinosaur science 
may yet prosper. For information on The Dinosaur Society 
and its programs, write P.O. Box 2098, New Bedford. Mas- 
sachusetts 02162. 




Taking blood-pressure 
measurements may look 
easy, but it's actually 
surprisingly difficult. Even 
many health professionals 
don't fully understand how to 
do it correctly. Now a new 
study indicates that diastolic 
pressure, the measurement 
that should register around 
80, reads higher when the 
patient sits on an examining 
table rather than in a chair. 

William Cushman and his 
colleagues at the Veterans 
Affairs Medical Center in 
Jackson, Mississippi, took 
blood-pressure measure- 
ments from 48 people who 
sat first in a chair and then on 
an examining table. The 
researchers found no differ- 
ence in the systolic pressure, 
the higher number that 
should read around 120, but 
the diastolic pressure rose 
6.5 points when the subjects 
sat on the table. 

Cushman, now working at 
the VA Medical Center in 
Memphis, Tennessee, is 
unsure what causes the jump 
in diastolic pressure, but he 
suspects that it involves the 
increased muscular effort 
required "to keep someone 
upright on an examining 
table without back support." 

Taking blood pressure 
with patients sitting on 
examining tables almost 
doubled the number of 
people classified with high 
blood pressure in Cushman's 
study; those patients, he 
adds, did not actually suffer 
from hypertension. 

How should blood pres- 
sure be taken? Cushman 
suggests using a quiet room 
because even talking can 
32 OMNI 

make pressure jump. And 
the arm should rest at heart 
level, because a hanging 
arm will goose up pressure, 
too. In most cases, a doctor 
or nurse should take 
measurements on three 
different visits before drawing 
conclusions, because blood 
pressure varies throughout 
the day and even seasonally 
—Paul McCarthy 


You're listening to the 
radio, and that song comes 
on, the one you've loved for 
years. But you don't know its 
title or who sings it — because 
radio disc jockeys often 
neglect to mention those 
details. New York City 
inventor David Alwadish 

radio stations and receiver 
manufacturers about his 
invention, the National Asso- 
ciation of Broadcasters 
(NAB) and the Electronic 
Industries Association (EIA) 
are promoting a similar 
European technology called 
Radio Broadcast Data Ser- 
vice (RBDS). According to 
Ken Springer, an NAB 
engineer, RBDS transmits 
information that allows the 
radio to identify a type of 
music or information. "Punch 
a button on the receiver 
number panel — G7 for coun- 
try music, for example — and 
the receiver seeks out the 
stations broadcasting that 
code," Springer says. When 
a station fades, RBDS car 
receivers use the codes to 
seek out new stations playing 






must have had this experi- 
ence himself, because he 
has patented a radio 
transmission system that 
sends such information, in 
computer code, over an 
unused part of a station's 
bandwidth. A decoder in a 
specially designed radio 
receiver converts the code, 
and "Let It Be" by the Beatles 
or even an advertiser's 
toll-free phone number lights 
up the receiver's display 
panel. Listeners can even 
store the information on 
a memory card and print it 
out later. 

While Alwadish talks with 

the type of music you've 
been listening to. And punch 
in the code for a traffic alert, 
and the system switches 
from a cassette to the radio 
when a report airs. 

The NAB and the EIA are 
working together to develop 
code standards, and Spring- 
er thinks that RBDS receivers 
might include some of 
Alwadish's ideas and make it 
to the U.S. market in two or 
three years. 

— Francesca Lunzer Kritz 

"The antiquity of time is the 
youth of the world. " 

— Francis Bacon 


Mexico City's air pollution 
problems are almost as 

legendary as its Aztec 
heritage. In March, smog 
levels in the capital set a new 
record — four times the inter- 
national health standard. 
Residents are tiring of 
"emergency measures" such 
as driving bans that are fast 
becoming the norm. In 
response, city officials have 
seized upon a novel 
solution — run that dirty air out 
of town. 

Mexican scientists have 
proposed erecting 100 giant 
fans to send the pollution 
beyond the mountains encir- 
cling the city. The fans, they 
say, will propel air skyward 
with enough force to break 
up the persistent thermal 
inversions that set in each 
winter. The city's mayor has 
approved small-scale testing 
of the concept. 

Local environmentalists 
have attacked the plan, 
claiming that it's easier and 
more effective to control 
pollution at the source. 
Jim Brock, a chemi- 
cal engineer at the 
University ofTex- 
as, agrees. 
Twenty years 
ago, he says, 

Can wind dear, up popped Mexico Q!y' 

a similar proposal called for 
drilling holes in the San 
Gabriel mountains and 
blowing Los Angeles' pollu- 
tion through them into the 
desert. "Calculations showed 
that it would take all the 
power the state generated 
just to run the blowers." 
Although estimates for build- 
ing the Mexico City project 

rjr arjoui £100 million, Brock 
figures "it would take several 
hundred million dollars per 
hour just to run the fans." 

The blame for the 
immense cost of cleaning up 
the atmosphere lies with the 
laws of thermodynamics. "It's 
extremely difficult to move 
dirty air out and clean air in 
unless nature does it for us," 
Brock says. "In Mexico City, 

unfortunately, nature 
doesn't do that." 

— Steve Nad is 


However, Stenberg says, 


'people with arthritis can't 

produce the big pulse of 

Arthritis afflicts the joints 

cortisone anymore." Fur- 

of millions of people — most 

hermore, injecting patients 

as they grow older, some 

with large amounts. of 

throughout life— inflicting 

cortisone to simulate the 

intense pain. And until now, 

tody's natural reaction 

there simply hasn't been 

o pain is out of the 

much the medical communi- 

question: Prolonged ex- 

ty could do about it. Relief 

posure to high doses of the . 

from the pain may be .oh 

lormone produces undesir- 

the way in the form of 

able side effects. 

Microdose Therapy, a 

Microdose Therapy re- 

treatment developed at the 

places cortisone with its 

University of North Dakota 

and now in clinical 

applications at the universi- 

ty's Inflammation Institute 

in Grand Forks. 

Professor Virgil Stenberg 

pioneered the new treat- 

ment. "The results we're 

B ^Ah 

getting are far superior to 

Hpi i-^H 

any other treatment in the 

world," he says. 

: Stenberg's new treat- 

W>L..a '>_ . T^H 

ment is the fruition of more 

Wrz^J&fcy-- ■ ^^H - 

than two decades of 

research that began when 

doctors told his wife, Helen, 

that she had rheumatoid 

arthritis. Stenberg had little 

success in his research 

until 1983, when he 'read a 

synthetic cousin, predni- 

book about hormones that 

sone. Over a span of days, 

provided the missing piece 

Datients receive an oral 

to the puzzle. 

lose of prednisone, which 

When the body's tissues 

within hours begins to 

become inflamed, the 

elieve the inflammation 

human adrenal gland 

and restore mobility. 

releases "big pulses" of 

At the Inflammation 

cortisone, a massive dose 

nstitute, 60 percent of 

as much as three times 

Datients treated with Micro- 

greater than the small 

dose Therapy experienced 

amount normally present in 

a greater than 75 percent 

the bloodstream, Stenberg 

eduction in their pain. As 

says. After the pulse of 

an added bonus, the 

cortisone fights the inflam- 

reatment, according to 

mation, the- 'body returns to 

Stenberg, costs significant- 

its normal cortisone level 

y less than normal arthritis 

within about seven hours. 

'oatrncnt. — Tom R. Kovach 



In 1827, the first friction 
matches, then known as 
lucifers, came on the market. 
Now, to make them environ- 
ment friendly, British re- 
searchers have virtually 
reinvented them. 

Sulfur has always been 
essential to matches. Without 
it, a match would simply fizz 
like a firework sparkler and 
give off a nasty odor. The 
snag is that sulfur in the 
atmosphere causes acid 
rain — and researchers calcu- 
late that matches in the 
United Kingdom alone re- 
lease more than 100 tons of 
sulfur dioxide each year. In 
all safety matches produced 
by Bryant S May of High 
Wycombe, England, the 
country's leading match 
maker, sulfur has been 
replaced byferrophosphorus, 
a combination of phosphorus 

and iron used to make 
hrn-Ljiade, low-alloy steel. It 
increases the combustion 
temperature of the match 
head, producing a readily 
ignitable phosphorus vapor. 

To stabilize the glue 
binding all the components 
of a match head, the firm 
used zinc oxide. But this 
polluted rivers, spurring the 
manufacturer to supplant it 
with limestone. 

Potassium dichromate, a 
red crystalline salt prepared 
from chrome iron ore, "acted 
as a sensitizer," says 
technical director Mike Cox. 
"Without it, you'd have had to 
use more force to get a light. 
The trouble is that it can 
cause ulcers and, in cases of 
intense exposure, rot the 
nasal cavity. By incorporat- 
ing more air into the 
match-head composition, 
we've found a way of making 
matches burr just as b r gntly 
without it." — Ivor Smullen 

A clean bum: Maklr.g jr.cn numbi* match safe for the 


In just six years, strict 
clean-air regulations will 
force droves of electric cars 
to hit the streets of 
California, New York, Mas- 
sachusetts, and possibly 
other northeastern states, 
While electric cars emit far 
less pollutants than conven- 
tional automobiles, they 
usually run on energy 
supplied by polluting power 
plants. To increase the 
cars' clean-air benefits, 
some of the electricity to 
run them must come from 
sunlight. Part of the answer 
may be solar-energy instal- 
lations at parking lots for 
recharging car batteries. 

The "solar carport," the 
first such facility in the 
United States, will open this 
month at the South Coast 
Air Quality Management 
District (AQMD) headquar- 
ters in Diamond Bar, 
California. A 2,100-square- 
foot array of solar cells has 
been mounted above a 
section of the headquarters 
parking lot. Five parking 

spaces now have plugs 
that carry electricity pro- 
duced by the solar cells to 
the car batteries. Excess 
electricity will go back into 
the normal power grid. 

Air-quality officials hope 
that this demonstration will 
spur the construction of 
similar structures at shop- 
ping centers and office 
parks. "Some folks get 
nervous about the prospect 
of not having enough power 
to get back home," 
explains Nick Patapoff, 
project manager for South- 
ern California Edison, which 
built the AQMD carport. 
"This will extend the 
range and usability of 
electric cars." 

An estimated 200,000 
electric vehicles will roam 
California's roads by the 
year 2000. "Systems such 
as this could provide 10 
percent of the electricity for 
these vehicles," Patapoff 
says. "And fortunately, the 
solar carport occupies just 
a small fraction of the 
space already available at 
business and shopping- 
center parking lots." 

—Steve Nadis 



If you're torn between 

voting for George Bush or Bill 
Clinton and want to know 
more about how they stand 
on issues, Project Vote Smart 
can probably provide the 
answers you need. 

Run by the Center for 
National Independence in 
Politics, Project Vote Smart 
offers a voters' hotline that 
provides information on the 
voting records, campaign 
contributors, issue positions, 
and backgrounds of all 
candidates for governor, 
Congress, and the U.S. 
presidency. In addition, 
operators have access to 
performance evaluations on 
the candidates given by 
about 60 different special- 
interest groups. 

The project's nearly 200 
yolunteers manning tine 
phones are trained to 
respond impartially io callers. 
If an operator supplies 
information on a candidate's 
environmental record, for 
example, the operator must 
not make judgments, even at 
the caller's request, about 
whether the record is good or 
bad, says Renee Harber, 
assis:ant director of the 
Center's public-information 
36 OMNI 

The factual information 

Dispensed by Project Vote 

Smart comes from impartial 
sources; the voting records 
and biographical information 
from the Congressional 
Cus:ia-:y. :he linance data 
from the Center for Respon- 
sve Politics, which gets its 
data from the Federal 
Election Commission. The 
project's staff also sent 
candidates a questionnaire 
earlier this year to assemble 
their positions on various 
issues. Some candidates 
have filled them out; among 
those who had declined to 
reply at press time were 
Bush and Clinton. 

Richard Kimball, the 
Center's director and a 
former Senate candidate, 
started Project Vote Smart a 
few years ago with the 
Center's sterling and amaz- 
ingly diverse list of support- 
ers, including famed conserv- 
ative Barry Goldwater and 
equally famed liberal George 
McGovern. Fed up with the 
way political campaigns try 
to manipulate voters with 
slick commercials and pam- 
phlets, Kimball wants to "put 
control back in the hands of 
the voters," Harber explains. 

To maintain its nonpartisan 
stand, the Center only 
acceots conrlbutions from 
its 20,000 members and 

grants from nonpolitical 

You can reach Project 
Vote Smart at (800) 786- 
6885. By calling (900) 
786-6885, you can order the 
project's Voter's Self- 
Defense Manual, which 
offers information on your 
state's Congressional dele- 
gation; the call costs $3.50. 

You can order the manual for 
only $2.50 by sending a 
check to Project Vote Smart, 
129 NW Fourth Street, #204, 
Corvallis, Oregon 97330, 
Center members receive the 
manual free of charge; to 
join, send a check for $35.00 
(students may join for 
S15.00) to the address 
above.— Erin Murphy 


Walking on water used to 
be a privilege reserved for 
a chosen few. But an 
Orange, California, physi- 
cian has changed alfthat. 

Bored with jogging, Alan 
W, Nayes thought walking 
on water might have some- 
aerobic value. To test his 
notion, he invented Aq- 
uashoes; which are six-foot- 
long fiberglass shoes that 
resemble cross-country 
skis. The hollow cores of 
the $200 contraptions 
provide enough buoyancy 
to float a 200-pound man, 
Nayes says, The key to the 
.whole thing lies in ten flaps, 
hanging at an 80-degree 
angle, attached to the 
bottom of each shoe. 

Push one leg forward, 
and water pressure forces 
the flaps backward, folding 
them up parallel to the 
bottom of the Aquashoe. 
The flaps on the other shoe, 
meanwhile, remain almost 
vertical, steadying the. 
wearer in the water. 

Someone we 1 1- practiced 
in the art of Aquashoeing, 
Nayes says, can glide 
along at a rather heady 3.5 
miles an hour. 

Nayes has tested two 
prototypes, one for people 
weighing about 165 
pounds and the other for 
people over200 pounds. "If 
you weigh much more than- 
that," he says, "you better 
find, some Other way to burn 
off calories," because you'll 
probably sink. 






nwiMiJII.i,', IfTlj T 




professionals — men and < 
and in large if ' 

ately vague, providing you with the opportunity to tap into 
ideas that you may not be conscioi 
If you are religious, you will, of course, 
according to your beliefs about the afterdeath. If you con- 
ir the "afterdeath" a religious issue, and you dor'* irfQ "- 
tify with any religious tradition, we encourage you to t 
survey and note your mental and emotional reactit 

lontaneous and imaginal 
Some of your responses may not even fit into your tl 
or religious framework. 

Thinking about the afterdeath may not be "fun"; h . 

Death and Dying II is the only known research project that 





i MflTiXi; 

! our next frontier," says Your responses will help researche 
director of the Death and the field of the afterdeath. As vouai 




iS fl^gMft^ i ra at ! 

Miller says, "one that people are know in any objecti 

nes even ashamed to ask." Every liefs," Miller says, "considering them carefully is \„., . 
sr, has had even in the most painful moments of life." 
i, complex Who will benefit from this research? A wide range of health- 
v- care professionals including hospice workers, doctors, the cler- 
afterdeath. gy, and psychologists. Curriculum designers who work with 

survey. One 

..<uo U um is considering developing a show using the Imac 

i Library and utilizing virtual reality. "We can't imagine all tF 

When you have completed tl 

i of the Republic 324 W. Wendover Avenue, Suite 205, Gr 

s are also establishing an afterdeath im- Mark "DDM" on the envelope. If you war.. .~ , 

, they have assembled 500 images, image library, send either photographs or copies of a 

■referenced to its country of origin, reli- with your survey. On the back, include the size of tl 

on, and current location. Ad- nal, date of composition, title, and where the original 

" """, Do not send original art. Once the data from this sur 

Heeled, Omni will report back to you on the 

.-i, .., w ..ipare and contrast the afterdeath systems f 

, and Ijaw in Nigeria; as well as the Fon of the Republic 
of Benin. Researchers are also establishing an afterdeath im- 
~ge library. To date, they have assembled 500 images, 
aoh image is cross-referenced to its country of origin, reli- 

ditional projects are to be conducted in China, 
India, Japan— and the United States. 
And that's where you, 1' 

I," On the following . various cultures that have I" 

Today, the 
grids are 
being com- 
pleted in 
four countries: 
Nigeria, the 
of Benin, and 
the United 
States. Within 
these coun- 
tries, eight cul- 
tures with 
thirteen "sub- 
cultures" are 
being studied. 

GRID ONE: What's the Afterdeath All About? 

Do you think of the afterdeath as a journey? Yes Nt 

How long is the journey? i Don't know . 

How far is the journey? Don't know _ 

Are you transformed by the journey? Yes . No . 

Don't know 

_ No . Don't know 

_ No Don't know _ 

i Don't know 

_ No Don't know 

No Don't know . 

. Don't know . 

Don't know 

3 place" on first arrival? 
seen as a specific place? 

Does the individual benefit from the journey? Yes _ 

Does the community benefit from the journey? Yes- 

Does humanity benefit from the journey? Yes 

Is the goal of the journey a return to this life? Yes _ 

Is the goal of the journey to begin another life? Yes 

Is the goal of the journey eternal bliss? Yes , I 

Is the goal of the journey "rest"? Yes No — 

Is there a "waiting space" or "restir 

Yes No Don't know _ 

if it isn't a journey, is the afterdeath 

Yes No Don't know 

If it isn't a journey, is the afterdeath seen as a specific condition? 

Yes No Don't know 

Do you review your former life? Yes No . Don't know , 

Do you experience light? Yes . No Peace? Yes No 

Terror? Yes No Tests (obstacles)? Yes No 

Is there a guide or guides on the journey? Yes No Don't know 

18. Is the journey or the destination emphasized in your view? 

Yes No Don't know 


GRID TWO: Who Tells You About the Afterdeath? 

1. When do you learn about the afterdeath? Youth? Yes _ No 

Middle age? Yes No Right before death? Yes No 

2. Who taught you about the afterdeath? Church? Yes . No 

Parents? Yes No Society? Yes No 

In the form of myths? Yes No 

3. Do you have a primary image for death? Yes No Don't know . 


Do you have a primary image for the afterdeath? Yes No Don' 

Do you have an image of a guide of the afterdeath? Yes . 

Is there literature that describes your view? Yes _ 

Does art exist representing your view? Yes . 

8. Does your belief system claim knowledge that is secret? 
Yes No Don't know 

9, Does your belief system have a set of symbols? Yes 



"Our inability 

with death not 

only os 

: :; grieving and 

' loss but 

also as poetry, 

art, ritual, 

and journey 

seems to. 

r increase our 

fears and 

insecurities, all 

■"... of which 

contribute to, if 

not create, 

illness itself," 

Miller says. 

GRID THREE: How Do You Prepare for the Afterdeath? 

1 . Should you prepare for the afterdeath? Yes No Don't know _ 

2. Does everything you do in life prepare you for the afterdeath? 
Yes No Don't Know 

3. Are certain periods in life more important for preparation? 
Yes No Don't know 

Periods . ! 

4. Check which of the following prepare you for the afterdeath? 

Relationships Vocation Finances Sexuality . .. . 

Beliefs Past lives Behavior 


GRID FOUR: Defining the Afterdeath 

1 . Is the afterdeath fixed?. or flexible? Don't know 

2. Can those still alive affect your experience of the afterdeath? 
Yes No Don't know 

3. is the afterdeath defined by how you lived? Yes . No Don't know 

4. Is the afterdeath defined at the moment of death? Yes No Don't know _ 

5. Is the afterdeath deiined by the rituals at the time of death? 
Yes . No Don't know 

6. Is the afterdeath defined by rituals after death? Yes No Don't know . 

7. Is the afterdeath defined by your age at the time of death? 
Yes No Don't know 

8. Is the afterdeath defined by the cause of death? Yes No 

9. Is the afterdeath defined by your psychological state at death? 
Yes No '. Don't know 

10. Is the journey defined by the afterdeath itself? Yes . No _ 

_ Don't know _ 

_ Don't know _ 

GRID FIVE: "Lay of the Land" 

1. Is there time? Yes No Don't know _ 

Space? Yes No 

Are there ethics? Yes 

Manners 7 Yes No _ 

Is there good and evil? Yes 

Don't know 

lo Don't know 

Don't know 

No Don't know _ 

Is there a hierarchical structure to the environment? 

Yes No Don't know 

Are there animals? Yes No Don't know 

Check which of the following are present in the afterdeath? 

Individuation Boundarylessness . Creativity Joy 

Helplessness Delight Rage Dead friends . 

Dead family Sadness Peace Will Passivity . 

How do you communicate in the afterdeath? 

Is the afterdeath a world laden with objects? Yes . 

What do you see in the environment? 

What do you hear? 

. No . 

What do you touch? _ 

GRID SIX: Talk About the Traveler— Iff You Can 

1 . Assuming there is a journey, does a traveler (entity) make the journey? 
Yes No . Don't know 

2. What form does the traveler take? 

3. Is there communication between the traveler and the living? 
Yes No Don't know 

4. Is there a relationship between the traveler and his former self? 
Yes No Don't know 

5. Is there a relationship between the traveler and his former body? 
Yes No , Don't know 

6. Is there a relationship between the traveler and his former community? 
Yes No Don't know 

7. Are people awaiting the traveler? Yes No Don't know 

8. Does the traveler remain the same throughout the journey? 
Yes . No Don't know 

9. Does the traveler exercise will? Yes No Don't know 

10. Does the traveler have memory? Yes No . Don't know 

11. Does the traveler have a sense of humor? Yes No Don't know _ 

12. Is the traveler masculine? Yes No 

13. Is the traveler feminine? Yes No 

14. On the journey, does the traveler change gender? Yes . . No Don'" 

15. On the journey, does the traveler remain the same gender? 
Yes No . Don't know 

16. Does the traveler's gender become yet something else? 
Yes No . Don't know 

17. Does the traveler move? Yes No Don't know 

18. Is the traveler able to see? Yes No . , Don't know 

19. Is the traveler able to hear? Yes No Don't know 

20. Is the traveler able to touch? Yes No Don't know 

21. Is the traveler able to taste? Yes No Don't know 

22. Is the traveler able to smell? Yes No , Don't know 

23. What is the energetic nature of the traveler? 

24. Which of the following characteristics descrfties the traveler? Delight " Pain . 

Passivity Beauty Ugliness Creativity Ecstasy _ 

Helplessness Despair Happiness Terror Rage 

25. Does the traveler experience sexual desire? Yes No . Don't know 

26. Does the traveler travel alone? Yes No Don't know 

27. Does the traveler travel in groups? Yes No Don't know 

28. Are there other travelers? Yes No. . Don't know 

29. Are these travelers divided into groups, classes, types? 
Yes No Don't know 

Comments - 

"I don't 
believe in 
an after- 
death," a dy- 
ing patient 
said. "I be- 
lieve there'll 
be nothing. 
I'm too tired. 
If there 
were more, 
I don't think I 
could stand 
it. I count on 
there being 

GRID SEVEN: Proving the Afterdeath Exists 

1. Do you have evidence supporting your view? Yes No 

2. Was the evidence given orally? Yes . . No 

3. Did you see the evidence? Yes No 

4. Is the evidence experiential? Yes No „ 

5. Is the evidence technological? Yes No 

6. Is the evidence in any way material? Yes No . 

7. Is the evidence in written form? Yes No 

8. Do you think the evidence helps explain everyday events? 
Yes No . Don't know 

9. Do you think the evidence depends on a collaboration between the living and the dead? 
Yes No Don't know 

10. Do you have to be in an altered state to understand the evidence? Yes . No 

1 1 . Do you need an" interpreter to understand the evidence? Yes No , 

12. Has the evidence been predicted before death? Yes No Don't know . 

13. Is the evidence replicable? Yes No 

14. Is the evidence reliable? Yes No . 

15. Is the evidence nonverifiable? Yes No . 


GRID EIGHT: The Return Trip 

1 . Is there a return to this life? Yes No 

2. Is it random (accidental)? Yes No _ 

3. Is it determined (fixed)? Yes No . 

4. Is it determined by the journey itself? Yes _ 

5. Is it determined by accumulated lives? Yes 

6. Is it determined by willful intent? Yes 

7. Is it determined by the traveler? Yes 

Don't know 

_ Don't know 

Don't know 

__ No Don't know 

No Don't know . 

) Dont know 

) Don't know . 

8. If there'is a return, when is the time set for the return? Check one: 

Before the journey During the journey After the journey 

9. What aspects of the returned life are predetermined? Check: . 

Mother Parents Country Family position DNA 

10. Are aspects of the next life determined before conception? Yes No 

11 . Are aspects of the next life determined at conception? 
Yes No Don't know 

12. Are aspects of the next life determined at 4 months? Yes No Don't know . 

13. Are aspects of the next life determined at birth? Yes No Don't know 



Age: Sex: _ 

Level of Education: 

Religion Raised In: 

Practicing Religion: 


Income Level: Below $15,000 - 


Above $45,01 

of STAR TREKfyou are invited 
to take your place on the bridge 
of the U.S.S. ENTERPRISE. 

:4379-6PXO- 56 

Lilting the 
shroud of centu- 
ries: From 
the squalor ol 
Europe to the 
grandeur ot 
ancient Rome, 
your past 
lives and loves 
and unlast 
deaths may live 
on as roll- 
ing memories 
of the soul. 

By Sara Solovltch 

Tapping the art ot hypnosis, 

patients can time 

trip through previous lives. 

Painting Bv 
Michel Henricot 

patients' so-called past lives are gener- 
ated through the special power of hyp- 
nosis; the past-life memories them- 
selves are powerful metaphors of the 
unconscious, helpful to past-life therapy 
in the same way that traditional 
dreams shed light on buried thoughts 
and psychosis during traditional psycho- 
therapy and analysts. 

"It's valuable material, which is what 
I point out to patients when they ask 
me, 'Is it real, or did 1 imagine it?'" 
says Garrett Oppenheim, a certified 
psychotherapist in Tappan, New York. 
"The material is just as valuable in ther- 
apy either way. You can take it literally 
or metaphorically. It comes from their 
unconscious. It has a certain reality for 
them, and it has a reality therapeutical- 
ly because it expresses their problems 
and needs." 

The most famous hypnotic regres- 
sion case of all time, of course, had noth- 
ing to do with therapy. It was about 
reincarnation, plain and simple. Bridey 
Murphy was the nineteenth-century Irish 
woman who emerged whenever a Den- 
ver housewife named Virginia Tighe 
was hypnotized by candlelight back in 
the early 1950s. Tighe's descriptions of 
life in early-nineteenth-century Cork, Ire- 
land, were hailed for their vivid and 
seemingly accurate details. When 

Morey Bernstein, Tighe's neighbor and 
amateur hypnotist, wrote an account of 
their sessions, his famous book, The 
Search for Bridey Murphy, provoked a 
worldwide debate about reincarnation. 

It also attracted some of past-life ther- 
apy's first practitioners. Those early ther- 
apists went on to form the California- 
based Association for Past-Life Re- 
search and Therapies (APRT), an inter- 
national organization with some 700 
members. The field, as represented by 
APRT is not particularly strong on "qual- 
ity control," according to some of its crit- 
ics. After all, hypnotherapy does not re- 
quire a license in California— the state 
that many past-life therapists call 
home. And APRT's membership roster 
includes several astrologers, Mew Age 
channelers, and one doorman. 

But Brian Weiss's credentials are im- 
peccable. A magna cum laude gradu- 
ate of Columbia University and Yale Med- 
ical School, he is as traditionally 
trained and left-brained as any medical 
doctor in the United States. Until July 
1990, he was chairman of psychiatry at 
Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami, 
where he enjoyed a national reputation 
as a psychopharmacologist. 

But that's Weiss's past life. 

Once, he would have found such tes- 
timony as Jan's hard to swallow. Like 

"A distinct advantage of not having developed technology is not having 
to put up the outdoor Christmas lights each year. " 

the story about her past life as a frail 
servant girl in a long-ago Middle East- 
ern country. Doomed to a hopeless ex- 
istence, Jan saw herself riding in a wag- 
on filled with wet straw. It overturned 
and she died, trapped and suffocating 
beneath the straw. After ."reliving" this 
episode on Weiss's white leaiho- sola, 
her chronic asthma dissipated. For the 
first time in years, she can sleep 
through the night without waking up, 
gasping for air. 

Weiss, 48, recounts this story and oth- 
ers like it without batting an eye. In- 
deed, he says that his own wife, 
Carole, was once a medieval Europe- 
an man fatally clubbed in the left tem- 
ple. This insight, garnered during hyp- 
nosis, delivered instant relief from pre- 
menstrual migraine headaches that 
have plagued her for years. 

Weiss's transformation began one 
day in 1980 when a young woman 
walked into his office on the referral of 
another physician. "Catherine" suffered 
from a host of fears and phobias that 
left her sleepless, always on guard 
against the next panic attack. Eighteen 
months of intensive and traditional psy- 
chotherapy failed to bring any signifi- 
cant results. Though Catherine 
seemed to understand the roots of her 
anxieties, she showed no improvement. 
In frustration, Weiss finally decided to 
hypnotize her. 

Regressed to the age of 5, she re- 
called having nearly drowned in a swim- 
ming pool. Regressed to age 3, she re- 
called a long-forgotten night in a dark- 
ened bedroom when she was sexually 
molested by her drunken father. Re- 
gressed to age 2, she remembered noth- 
ing. And then, Weiss asked her to "go 
back to the time from which your symp- 
toms arise." Suddenly, the floodgate to 
86 different past lives opened. 

Catherine remembered drowning in 
a flood in 1863 B.C., having her throat 
slashed as a young boy in the Nether- 
lands in 1473, and dying from a water- 
borne epidemic in eighteenth-century 
Spain. Her therapy, described in 
Weiss's much-publicized book, Many 
Lives, Many Masters, amazed the psy- 
chiatrist. Especially after one session, 
when she announced that her lifelong 
fear of drowning had disappeared. And 
with each subsequent session, with 
each new "memory," another anxiety bit 
the dust. 

But it was the "message" delivered 
by this patient, says Weiss, that 
changed his life. After a while, he 
notes, she began speaking to him in a 
husky voice later identified as that of a 
Master or highly evolved soul. "Your fa- 
ther is here, and your son, who is a 
small child," the husky-voiced Gather- 

ine told Weiss, issuing forth, he insists, 
on topics she could never have known 
on her own. "Your father says you will 
know him because his name is Avrom, 
and your daughter is named after him. 
Also, his death was due to his heart. 
Your son's heart was also important, for 
it was backward, like a chicken's. He 
made a great sacrifice for you out of his 
love. He wanted to show you that med- 
icine could only go so far, that its 
scope is very limited." 

Catherine had zeroed in on a couple 
of remarkable aspects of Weiss's fami- 
ly history. Yes, his father, Alvin, was a 
religious Jew who, as Weiss writes, was 
far better suited to his Hebrew name of 
Avrom. And yes, Alvin had died of 
heart disease, and Weiss's daughter, 
Amy, had been named for him. But 
even more significantly, Catherine had 
identified the single greatest tragedy of 
Weiss's life: the death of his first-born 
son, Adam, 11 years earlier. The baby's 
heart had, indeed, been turned around, 
backward like a chicken's. And when 
open-heart surgery failed to save his 
child's life, Weiss reacted by deciding 
against a career in internal medicine in 
lavor of psychiatry. As Catherine said, 
he had become convinced that mod- 
ern medicine, with all its advanced tech- 
nology, could "only go so far." 

To this specialist in brain chemistry, 
the information offered by his patient, 
a mere layperson, was earth-shattering. 
"A hand had reached down and irre- 
versibly altered the course of my life," 
he says. "My mind was indeed now 
open to the possibility, even the prob- 
ability, that Catherine's utterances 
were real." 

Today, Weiss talks before conven- 
tions of Japanese businessmen, hospi- 
tal nurses, past-life therapists. He has 
a waiting list of 1,000 patients from 
around the world, all of them eager to 
be hypnotized by this latest hero of the 
New Age In 1991, he organized a four- 
day workshop on past-life therapy that 
drew cardiologists, internists, psychia- 
trists, and other medical professionals 
from up and down the East Coast to Mi- 
ami. Ever since the publication of his 
book in 1988, Weiss has been bombard- 
ed with calls and letters from doctors 
admitting that they, too, have been 
experimenting in this field, secretly, be- 
hind their closed doors. 

Weiss wants to throw open those 
closed doors. 

Last year, with Weiss's encourage- 
ment, another credentialed colleague 
— Spring Lake, New Jersey, psychiatrist 
Robert Jarmon — stepped out of the clos- 
et to take some heat. One ol Jarmon's 



patients, an otherwise rational and suc- 
cessful businessman, habitually be- 
came psychotic and paranoid around 
the time of the full moon. Under hyp- 
nosis, the man spoke, in the first per- 
son, as an American Army officer dur- 
ing World War II. Caught behind ene- 
my lines, he was interrogated and taken 
to a river by German soldiers With the 
full moon reflecting in the water, he was 
shot in the head and killed. During an 
EEG workup, the patient was shown to 
have a scar-like lesion in the area of his 
left brain — the same area, according to 
Jarmon, where the Army officer was sup- 
posedly shot in 1 944, four years before 
the businessman was even born. 

And there was more. Under hypno- 
sis, the patient recalled the name of the 
soldier and the small Minnesota town 
where he had grown up and attended 
college. Armed with this information, the 
patient's wife called the school's alum- 
ni office. She told a secretary that she 
was trying to look up an old relative. 
And, after some searching, the secre- 
tary confirmed that yes, the man had 
graduated college in 1939. 

"Just because somebody says some- 
thing or imagines something doesn't 
mean it really happened," says Jarmon. 
"But what I always fall back to is this: 
Is the patient getting better?" In this 
case, he says, the answer is a definite 
yes. After more than 20 years of an- 
guish and paranoid behavior during the 
full phase of the moon, the problem sud- 
denly stopped; two follow-up EEGs 
were both read as normal. 

Jarmon's first past-life patient, de- 
scribed for his peers in the Medical Hyp- 
noanalysis Journal, was a thirtyish wom- 
an who sought him out for help in los- 
ing weight. "Two months into the ses- 
sions," Jarmon reports, "she developed 
painful swelling and tenderness in the 
region of her right ovary. 'Anna' had 
stopped menstruating, and, though she 
insisted she could not possibly be preg- 
nant, her gynecologist suspected an ec- 
topic pregnancy. As it turned out, An- 
na wasn't pregnant. Instead, under hyp- 
nosis, she claimed to be Elizabeth, a 19- 
year-old woman in medieval Europe 
whose baby was "out of place." 

"The priest in attendance at her bed- 
side would not permit the physician to 
perform an abortion to save the wom- 
an's life," Jarmon explains, "and Eliza- 
beth finally weakened and died." The 
patient, Anna, meanwhile, described Eliz- 
abeth's soul floating out of her body. As 
she did. so, notes Jarmon, "her pulse 
and breathing became extremely faint, 
and I immediately brought her out of hyp- 
nosis. Anna, who never remembers 
what goes on in trance, said, 'Well, you 
finally did it. Thank you. My pain is all 

gone.' Later that night she called me to 
say that her menses had returned." 

Another therapist who regularly taps 
the techniques of past-life regression 
therapy is Springfield, Missouri, neuro- 
surgeon and psychologist C. Norman 
Shealy. Though Shealy views past-life 
memories as little more than "mirror im- 
ages" of real life, he calls the technique 
"the single most effective psychother- 
apy tool I know." It is the job of the 
psychotherapist, Shealy believes, to 
"trick" the subconscious into behaving. 
And past-life therapy does just that. "As 
symbolic stories created by the subcon- 
scious, past lives help patients gain in- 
sight into problems," Shealy says. "It is 
a lot easier to say, 'John Doe in 1600 
did so and so,' than, 'I did it in 1969.' 
It takes blame and guilt away." 

To make the point, Shealy cites one 
of his earliest cases, involving a wom- 
an with a spinal-cord injury that had par- 
alyzed her. The woman had come to 
Shealy seeking relief from the intense 
pain that seemed to follow her so- 
called "accident." The woman, it 
turned out, had no memory of the event 
that crippled her and believed she had 
accidentally shot herself while cleaning 
her husband's gun. Under hypnosis, 
however, she gave an entirely different 
explanation. She said she had been An- 

ne Boleyn. And her story was convinc- 
ing — right up to its historical denoue- 
ment of her beheading under the order 
of her husband, Henry VIII. 

As soon as he brought her out of hyp- 
nosis, Shealy confronted the patient 
with his interpretation of her "memory." 
He told her that her husband had shot 
her or, at the very least, that was what 
she believed. She immediately recalled 
a violent argument with her husband be- 
fore everything went black. The pain sub- 
sequently subsided and the. woman ul- 
timately obtained a divorce, though no 
legal charges were ever brought. 

That makes sense, since information 
garnered during hypnosis has general- 
ly been ruled inadmissible as legal evi- 
dence in most courtrooms throughout 
the country. This reflects mounting evi- 
dence that hypnosis cannot be relied 
upon to enhance memory. In fact, 
some studies have suggested that hyp- 
nosis may actually make memory more 
susceptible to distortion. 

"Hypnosis can put people in a very 
suggestible state," says Elizabeth 
Loftus, a University of Washington psy- 
chologist who specializes in memory dis- 
tortion. "I don't think there's anything 
particularly mystical about this." In 
fact, several studies have found that pa- 
tients who say they recall past lives are 

more easily hypnotizable than subjects 
who fail to report past lives. One impli- 
cation, explains Loftus, is that anyone 
capable of remembering a past life may 
be highly suggestible. And it is well- 
accepted knowledge that the power of 
suggestion is often sufficient for people 
who want to get well. 

"The rationale is not important as 
long as the patient has faith in the ther- 
apist," adds Nicholas Spanos, a psy- 
chology professor at Carleton Univer- 
sity in Ottawa, Ontario. "That holds 
true whether you're talking about a 
witch doctor or a Freudian psychiatrist. 
If the therapist is a psychoanalyst, the 
patient will say, 'Now I know it's be- 
cause I wanted to sleep with my moth- 
er.' It doesn't matter what the explana- 
tion is. Every person requires meaning 
in their life, and past-life therapy is one 
kind of explanation." 

Writing recently in the Journal of Per- 
sonality and Social Psychology, 
Spanos says that past-life memories are 
really "expectation-induced fantasies." 
In other words, he explains, past-life re- 
gressions are directly influenced by the 
hypnotist's bias and the subject's own 
interests and concerns. Spano's expla- 
nation goes a long way toward account- 
ing for why a person with an interest in 
Florentine art is likely to construct, un- 

der hypnosis, a minutely detailed life in 
Renaissance Italy. 

But Spanos' study goes further, re- 
vealing gross inaccuracies in the his- 
torical veracity of past-life memories. 
"For instance," he notes, in one case, 
a patient who relived life as Julius Cae- 
sar "staled that it was a.d. 50 and that 
he was emperor of Rome. Caesar, how- 
ever, died in 44 B.C. and was never 
crowned emperor. Moreover, the con- 
vention of dating years as either B.C. or 
A.D. did not begin until several cenlu- 
ries after a.d. 50. Similarly, one past- 
life 'reporter claimed to live in the state 
of Mississippi in 1780, long before Mis- 
sissippi became a state. Another 
claimed to live in Germany in 1866, be- 
fore Germany became a country." 

According to Spanos, even the sup- 
posedly air-tight story of Bridey 
Murphy comes apart under the careful 
investigative eye. Murphy supposedly 
walked the streets of Ireland back in 
1806. Yet soon afterTighe's revelations 
were published, it was found that 
Tighe had once lived with an aunt of 
Scottish-Irish descent who often re- 
galed her niece with stories about the 
Old Country. Further investigation 
found that a certain Bridie Murphy 
Corkell had once lived across the 
street from Tighe in Chicago. 

Had Tighe deliberately misled Bern- 
stein? Nobody suggests any such 
thing. Rather, the consensus is that Bri- 
dey Murphy provides a classic case of 
cryptoamnesia, a phenomenon first de- 
scribed by the nineteenth-century 
Swiss psychologist-philosopher-physi- 
cian, Theodore Flournoy. According to 
his theory, the human mind is like a li- 
brary filled with years and years worth 
of overheard conversations, pictures, 
newspaper stories, television shows, 
books, and songs. Nothing is ever 
lost; everything seen or heard remains 
on file. Though consciously forgotten, 
these bits and pieces of information and 
experience can later form the basis of 
fully blown fantasies that emerge, un- 
der hypnosis, as personal "memories." 

"/think the memories are real," says 
Weiss, "but it doesn't really matter be- 
cause people get better. To me, it ties 
in with a lot of the mind-body work go- 
ing on now. It's related to the new field 
of psychoneuro immunology, in which pa- 
tients can marshal the immune system 
to fight cancers and other types of dis- 
ease wilh the mind. When the mind 
changes and the mood changes, phys- 
>ca illnesses often ge: better, too." 

Weiss now relies on hypnosis for al- 
most all of his patients, even those nor 
involved in past-life regression. "I like 

doing r-er^ory worK n tha: state," he ex- 
plains. "It's much faster; it goes deep- 
er; it bypasses the usual filters. Things 
have the intensity of the emotion. Mem- 
ories are enhanced." 

"This isn't a court of law," Weiss 
adds. "We don't have to prove that ev- 
ery single detail is correct, If there's a 
degree of accuracy, that's what's import- 
ant. It's like, if you went back and re- 
membered a trip to the zoo. What dif- 
ference would it make if there were 
three polar bears there and you only 
saw two in your memory?" 

So maybe Jan's wife in Ancient 
Greece wasn't named Claudia. And may- 
be Jan didn't die in hand-to-hand com- 
bat. Maybe the only time she's seen 
Greece is in the pages of National Ge- 
ographic. But upon her return. to mod- 
ern Miami one recent gray morning, she 
brought back a lesson that, ultimately, 
had little to do with reincarnation, In all 
her past lives, Weiss pointed out, she 
was the one who always died first, leav- 
ing her mate behind. This time, she 
told the psychiatrist, she was commit- 
ted to the new relationship she had be- 
gun. She wasn't going to repeat the pat-" 
tern of a lifetime — and maybe many life- 
times — by running away (or dying) 
when things got sticky. This time, she 
was going to stick around. DO 


Computer cowboys roam the techno- 
underground seekrng information— or just wreaking havoc 


Something's happening here. What it is 
ain't exactly dear. There's a punk with a 
computer over there, tellin' me I got to 

It's a time-warp scene in some weird 
science-fiction story as I head down Tele- 
graph Avenue just outside the Berkeley 
campus. The smell of patchouli wafts 
through the air, overwhelming other 
scents of burning incense. The driving 
beat of the Doors' "Break on Through" 
pulsates from a record store — ^a fitting 
soundtrack to the movie surrounding me. 
Sidewalk merchants are hawking every- 
thing from tie-dyed T-shirts to turquoise 
jewelry. Me? I'm on a mission — to meet 
my connection in the counterculture. It 
seems conspicuously like the Sixties. But 
familiar sights, sounds, and vibes aside, 
things have changed. After all, this is the 
Nineties. Abbie Hoffman is dead. And no 
one is attempting to levitate the Penta- 
gon anymore. 

But if you thought the revolution was 
over, think again — and read on. These 
days, a new breed of young politicized 
radicals, known as cyberpunks, roam a 
techno-underground. Inspired and fueled 

in part by ideas emerging from science- 
fiction literature, these cyberpunks are 
computer cowboys riding the trails of cy- 
berspace — a nether world of bitstreams 
and databases inside computer net- 
works — circumventing software barriers 
in search of information and services or 
sometimes just to wreak a little mischie- 
vous havoc. They've got the eguipment 
and, they say, Ihe technical knowhow to 
slip into virtually any computer system 
and affect changes with global ramifi- 
cations. With the tap of a key, they 
claim, they could effectively cripple the 
economy or shut down communications 
systems the world over. If that is true, 
then cyberpunks hold the potential for be- 
coming the most powerful counterculture I 
force ever. 

The government has taken them se- 
riously. It has launched at least two ma- 
jor operations, one in 1990 called Op- 
eration Sundevil, to quash the movement. 
The problem: The consensus in the com- 
puter community is these government 
agents know considerably less about the 
technology than the computer experts 
and the cyberpunks, a charge govern- 


merit officials deny. As Secret Service 
Special Agent John F. Lewis put it, 
"There are some very talented individ- 
uals who are unfortunately misdirecting 
their energies. But to say they're leaps 
and bounds ahead of law enforcement 
personnel isn't true." Still, so far their ef- 
forts have seemed dubious at best, serv- 

ing more to fan the flames of the socio- 
political fire now raging over the con- 
trol of and individual rights in the elec- 
tronic frontier. 

I duck into a coffeehouse and man- 
age, with relative ease, to spot my con- 
nection — one of the hackers for whom 
the word cyberpunk was created. He's 

tall and slender, wearing black jeans 
and sporting a pair of John Lennon 
specs. He has a boyish, almost baby, 
face, which belies the brain power it so 
handsomely covers. His eyes are in- 
tense, at times piercing. Overall, he ap- 
pears every bit the intellectual anarchist 
for which the Berkeley scene is perfect 


In the last decade, cyberpunk has 
seeped from the techno-underground 
and the pages of science fiction into 
pop culture — movies, music, comic 
books, magazines, games, and art. 
Says cyberpunk writer Bruce Sterling, 
"The same thing that created us with- 
in science fiction created the hack- 
ers within the computer community, 
the musicians within music, and the 
artists in the art world, We are all prod- 
ucts of the. same bohemian dynamic." 

When did it begin? Ridley Scott's 
1980 movie Biaderunher, the penulti- 
mate cyberpunk film, is one starting 
point— alihough the movie, based on 
Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids 
Dream of Electric Sheep? actually pre- 
dates the cyberpunk wave in litera- 
ture. Other films — such as Iron, Vid- 
eodrome, Brazil, The Terminator, and 
Rob ocop— also project a cyberpunk 
vision, while TV's first foray into the gen- 
re was Max Headroom. 

Musically, cyberpunk is a political- 
ly edged mutation of the technology- 
based, alter native- rock industrial gen- 
re. Infused with the sound of Europe- 
an electronics, it's a seriously aggres- 
sive brand of razor-edged rock that 
jolts you with anti-George Jetson 
views of the future. While such cy- 
berpunk bands as Ministry and Skin- 
ny Puppy are slowly merging into the 
American rock consciousness, most 
cyberpunk bands have European 
roots— including Front 242 (Belgium), 
Laibach (Yugoslavia), and Can (Ger- 
many)— and remain relegated to the 
cult underground. 

According to Paul Barker of Minis- 

try, technology and attitude are the mu- 
sic's defining characteristics. "The 
technology comes from synthesizers 
and samplers," he says, "in terms of 
the attitude, there is a nihilistic vein 
that comes from the fact that kids are 
being weaned and spoon-fed on MTV 
with really banal music. Cyberpunk is 
the backlash to Bon Jovi and Guns 
'N' Roses." While cyberpunk repre- 
sents the backlash in rock-'n'-roll, it 
just may turn the performance-art 
scene upside down. The works of 
San Francisco's Survival Research 
Laboratories are the classic example. 
These "great primordial cyberpunks," 
as William Gibson calls them, took the 
Disney concept of animatronics 
down a decidely darker path, where 
creation is only as Important as the 
ultimate destruction. 

Headed by Mark Pauline, SRL ap- 
propriates various technological de- 
vices and industrial-type machinery 
and creates weird machines and "or- 
ganic robots" made of dead animals 
and spare parts, and then turns 
them loose — in parking lots or under 
the Brooklyn Bridge. The machines 
battle each other to a smoking, fiery, 
explosive, and blood-spurting 
"death" accompanied by prerecord- 
ed "soundtracks." Also heating up the 
cyberpunk scene: Seiko Makami, a 
Japanese "trash assemblage perform- 
ance artist" who solders sculptures 
from broken computer boards. 

Visualizing cyber culture also chal- 
lenged comics author Scott Rockwell, 
whd in 1988 wrote Cyberpunktoi Inno- 
vation Comics. "In reading cyberpunk 

novels and stories, I never could get 
a perfectly clear picture of what was 
going on in cyberspace," Rockwell 
says. "I wanted to take some of the 
concepts into the primarily visual me- 
dium of comics to explore the visual 
side of the matrjx." Meanwhile, Mike 
Saenz created the first Macintosh- 
generated computer comic book, 
called Shatter. 

Computer games, however, are the 
obvious medium for cyber stuff. Numer- 
ous games have hit the market, includ- 
ing Interplay Productions' Neuro- 
mancer, based on Gibson's novel. 
The role-playing Cyberpunk 2020, 
from R. Talsorian Games, has prov- 
en so successful that the company is 
now peddling a Cyberpunk Master Se- 
ries. Dungeons & Dragons-meisters 
l.C.E. released Cyberspace in 1989 
as part of its science-fiction series. 
And now there's even a collection of 
electronic essays, known as "Beyond 
Cyberpunk," for those players who 
are "Mac"-enabled. 

While many pop-culture entrepre- 
neurs no doubt view cyberpunk as 
the latest catch phrase or marketing 
gimmick with which to lure the rebel 
faction of new consumers, its gene- 
sis was grass roots. "The movement 
bubbled up from the streets — ideas, 
concepts, and works," says Howard 
Rheingold, editor of Whole Earth Re- 
view, one of several hardcopy mag- 
azines covering the cyber scene. 
"Now that it's finding its way into pop 
culture, the trick will be to separate 
what's real from marketed phon- 
iness." — A. J. S. Rayl 

Cyber visions; 

ftobocop II, and Belgium's cyberpunk band. Front 242. 


camouflage. He's known in the techno- 
underground as Michael Synergy. 

Twelve years ago, Synergy was 
your basic computer nerd. He spent his 
time exploring cyberspace, staging his 
own quiet protests by going where he 
wanted, when he wanted. Synergy be- 

Once you have access to the system, etrate a highly secured computer sys- 
you begin to clearly see the bars of the tem and acquire the key information. In 

prison we live i 

While Synergy was being politicized, 
writers on the science-fiction front 
were at work writing about such youth- 
ful electronic frontier outlaws. They pro- 

came so adept at infiltrating systems jected them into dark, desolate, not-so- 

order to get inside the various systems, 
Case links his brain directly to the com- 
puter, or, in the terminology of the nov- 
el, "jacks in to the net." 

While the word cyberpunk never ap- 
pears in the Neuromancer text, it was 

that he's become a legend. 

remains something of an icon in the tech- 

no-underg round. 

Synergy evolved — as did cy- 
berpunk — from the late Seventies' hack- 
er community. "There were a lot of us 
playing with the phone systems, and 

Today he distant futures where technology both the catch phrase that reviewers used 

rules and runs amok, and set them i 

adventures in cyberspace where data 
serves as the landscape and territories 
are traversed mathematically, not geo- 
graphically or physically. 
The term cyberpunk was brain- 

to define his book and the new genre 
that suddenly seemed to be every- 
where. Other cyberpunk-oriented 
works by such writers as Bruce Sterling 
(Schismatrix, Islands in She Net), Pat 
Cad\gan (Mindplayers, Pretty Boy Cross- 

then slowly we began to find our ways stormed back in 1980 by Bruce Bethke over), and John Shirley [Eclipse Co- 
Mo other networks," says Synergy, as as the title for a short story he'd written rona) captured SF fens, 
he takes a sip of tea, adjusts 
his Lennon specs, and leans 
back in his chair. "My whole 
reason for breaking into sys- 
tems way back then was to be- 
come educated, At that time, 
there wasn't a C-compiler on 
microcomputers, so I broke in- 
to Bell Labs just to learn C." 
Most hackers used their tal- 
ents then, Synergy says, sim- 
ply to learn. For the most 
part, the original hacker crew 
was apolitical— more inter- 
ested in the machines than in 
the politics. 

As they began traversing 
software barriers into the se- 
cured systems of major corpo- 
rations, government, and mili- 
tary-industrial complexes, however, about a computer-hacker gang— 
that began to change. They gleaned a bored suburban kids out to raise hell. 
lot of inside top-secret information on Bethke had been hanging around, play- 

Roberf Morris' worm made a big mess. 

Gibson, whose own early in- 
fluences were such "subver- 
sive" rock-'n'-rollers as Lou 
ReedAfelvet Underground and 
Steely Dan, had been watch- 
ing the punk-music scene 
with a certain enthusiasm. In 
fact, he says, the rebellious- 
ness of punk served as the in- 
spiration, and his own bore- 
dom as the fuel that motivat- 
ed him to begin work on Neuro- 
mancer and numerous other cy- 
berpunk short stories (many 
first published in Omni). Gib- 
son wrote two more cy- 
berpunk-oriented novels — 
Count Zero and Mona Lisa 
Overdrive— and garnered ac- 
claim as the godfather of cy- 

berpunk. It's not a title, however, that 
he's assumed. 

"It's really just an accident in histo- 
just about everything, including covert ing keyboards^ the periphery of the ry," says the author, whose roots go 
mftary operations. At the age of 14, Syn- punk New Wave music scene while work- back to the countercu ture of the S x- 
ergy.mw inhis late twenties, managed ing for Radio Shack. "I wanted a word ties. Gibson actually I ™w ver, httle 
A into a supposedly secure top- that grokkedjliese punk a^desand about computers andhg technology 
secret computer network run by the 
intelligence community and the Depart- 
ment of Defense. The DOD took him out 
of cyber circulation and brought him in- 
to their circle. He worked for nearly 
three years conducting "penetration test- 
ing and security design" for the nation- 
al Security Agency, Secret Service, and 
FBI, as well as the DOD. 
Consequently, Synergy became po- 

the technologies," he says. The story, He pounded out his cyberpunk^ works 
which was published in the magazine 
Amazing in 1983, remained obscure- 
but the title took seed, first in the sci- 
ence-fiction community and then in the 
media at large. 

The success of William Gibson's 

first novel, Neuromancer, published in 

1984, actually launched the cyberpunk 

... „ wave in science-fiction literature and 

micized "It used to be really hard to put the word cyberpunk on the map of 

ind things out but nowadays systems the collective public consciousness. Set ling, whose first nonfiction work, Hack- 
are o well networked toge her if you in a future urban dystopia, the novel cen- er Crackdown, about the governments 
know which machine to talk to in the ters on Case, a software cowboy for efforts to stop hackers, was published 
Sgence community, it's fairly simple hire. Burned by Japanese microbionics this fall "We write books for a purpose- 
to break in " he says. "The work I did experts who bonded tiny sacs of a war- 
for different government agencies time Russian mycotoxin to his artery 
gave me an inside view, and that walls, Case is suffering a slow death, 
strengthened my opinions. It made me He finds a man who can cure him, pro- 
very political and very antigovernment. vided, of course, that he is able to pen- 
es OMNI 

a 1938 manual typewriter while lis- 
tening to early Bruce Springsteen al- 
bums. "I didn't set out to start a move- 
ment, but for whatever reason," he 
says, "those books of mine have be- 
come a rallying point." 

Co-cyber writer Sterling agrees that 
Gibson was in the right place at the 
right time. "To some extent, people al- 
ways credit the messengers," says Ster- 

not jiist to be cute. Science fiction is 
about making up weird ideas and throw- 
ing them out there. And now all that 
stuff we were writing about is out there — 
loose in the world." 


»on y 

What happened when cyberpunk sci- 
ence fiction hit was a case of life imi- 
tating art. "Suddenly, the concept of cy- 
berspace took hold and inspired the re- 
al hackers, and they began to redirect 
their efforts in the technical arena, 
gave us a vision of the technology's po- 
tential," says Synergy. "Most comput- 
er enthusiasts and a lot of the hackers 
are very technical, but not very in 
touch with the world at large. The dif- 
ference is cyberpunks are very techno- 
logically capable but at the same time 
very worldly, connected to reality and 
what's going on in the culture." 

In essence, the cyberpunks are to 
the hackers as yippies were to hippies — 
political, savvy, worldly versions of the 
alternative culture. They don't hang out 
in places, but in cyberspaces, commun- 
ing, often anonymously, on computer bul- 
letin-board systems or through "zines" — 
electronic magazines, While there are 
several hardcopy magazines devoted 
to things cyberpunk — the most popular 
being Mondo 2000 — cyberpunks do 
their real business in the net, 

"Listen to these titles — Anarchy 'N' Ex- 
plosives, Bootlegger, Cult of the Dead 
Cow Files, Freaker's Bureau Internation- 
al, National Security Anarchists, Phuck- 
in Phietd Phreakers, Rebel's Riting 
Guild, and TAP (Technological Advance- 

ment Party) Online, which is actually the 
resurrection of Abbie Hoffman's old mag- 
azine," says Sterling, leafing through a 
compilation of computer sources recent- 
ly sent to him. 

The vast majority of bulletin-board sys- 
tems and zines, however, are legal and 
aboveboard. In 1985, the Whole Earth 
Review created the Whole Earth Lec- 
tronic Link, known as the WELL, 
"While this electronic medium existed, 
there was no publicly available commu- 
nity," says founder Howard Rheingold. 
"The purpose was to create a public util- 
ity to enable people to build a commu- 
nity and do business online." Current 
WELL members include computer and 
communications pioneers as well as SF 
authors like Sterling, and, of course, cy- 
berpunks. Such above-ground efforts 
signify that cyberpunk is emerging in 
pop culture, assuming meaning as a life- 
style, a way of thinking and, hence, a 
movement whose numbers — at least in 
terms of subscribers to the mindset — 
are beginning to grow. 

Central to the cyberpunk viewpoint is 
the belief that governments — nation 
states — are giving way to multinational 
corporations — global states. These en- 
tities are located not so much in one ge- 
ographical location but throughout the 
world via global networks on the elec- 

tronic frontier. 

In this electronic landscape, cy- 
berpunks see a future where those who 
have information will be separated 
from those who don't. By disseminating 
information — be it corporate plans or 
top-secret government operations — 
they believe they can take on self-as- 
sumed roles that range from benign so- 
ciopolitical watchdogs capable of avert- 
ing global oppression to anarchists re- 
taliating against corporate greed by 
wreaking havoc on computer systems — 
or as electronic terrorists ready, willing, 
and able to take out an enemy simply 
by shutting down systems, 

It comes as no surprise then that the 
government is up in arms. In Secret Ser- 
vice and FBI circles — the government 
agencies charged with computer law en- 
forcement — the term cyberpunk has al- 
most come to mean computer criminal. 
And cases like the 1988 Internet 
"worm" have undoubtedly fed the crack- 
down fever. Created by 25-year-old 
Robert Morris, the worm shut down 
some 6,500 computers and caused an 
estimated $150,000 to £200 million 
worth of damages to computer systems 
nationwide. Because his defense attor- 
neys were able to prove the destruction 
was unintentional, Morris was sen- 
tenced to a $10,000 fine and 400 com- 

"You know son, in politics, when all is said and done, a lot more is said than done. " 

in unity-service hours. 

Since then, there have been several 
instances of what the hackers claim are 
government attempts to suppress the 
cyberpunk media. Steve Jackson 
Games is a case in point. Secret Ser- 
vice agents raided this small Austin- 
based games manufacturer— publish- 
ers of fantasy-role-playing and board 
games — in March 1990. They seized 
computers and a stack of software 
disks and ransacked the company's 
warehouse. Some materials seized in 
the raid, including the game GURPS Cy- 
berpunk, have yet to be released, and 
Jackson has filed a civil suit against the 
government as a result. 

Spurred by this incident, the 
computer community rallied, holding a 
meeting on the WELL in late spring 
1990. Mitch Kapor, creator of Lotus 1- 
2-3; Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak: 
Sun Microsystems pioneer John Gil- 
more; and computer enthusiast and 
Grateful Dead songwriter John Perry Bar- 
low formed the Electronic Frontier Foun- 
dation to protect freedom of speech 
and expression in cyberspace. 

With the recent arrests of numerous 
hackers for illegal entry and data pos- 
session, the battles over control of the 
electronic frontier and hackers' rights 
are now being waged in court. One crit- 
ical issue is whether information be- 
longs to a given corporation or govern- 
ment or whether it belongs to the 
world, For those who are relaying infor- 
mation through computer networks and 
zines, there is also the question of First 
Amendment rights, or Hackers' Rights. 
How free is a free press in the electron- 
ic medium? This debate over intellec- 
tual freedom isn't entirely benign. The 
access to knowledge, like freedom, is 
risky when absolute. 

Things have changed in the hacker 
community. The first generation of 
young computer enthusiasts, now in 
their twenties, operated from a more ma- 
ture, concemed-for-the-future frame of 
reference. But Synergy admits danger 
may lie ahead with the new generation 
of hackers: "The new kids on the 
block, the new 14-year-old cast and 
crew, don't have a very good handle on 
morality, knowing what they should and 
shouldn't be doing with these wonder- 
ful toots they have." 

Furthermore, computer technology 
has outmoded old forms of political pow- 
er. "Anyone who was around in the Six- 
ties is aware of the concept that all po- 
litical power comes from the barrel of a 
gun and the power to control is the pow- 
er to destroy," Synergy says, "Now, 
with information tools, people like me 
have the capability and the access — 
because of the way the system is struc- 

tured — to shut everything down — not 
just locally, but globally. And, it's get- 
ting worse every day." 

Interestingly, Synergy's vision of the 
future lies on the opposite end of the 
cyberpunk spectrum from Gibson's. "I 
think Gibson is about the most pessi- 
mistic mother fucker I've ever run into," 
says Synergy. "His basic premise is 
that science will be abused, period. I 
tend to be more of an optimist: If we 
were going to blow each other up, we'd 
have done it by now. And, actually hav- 
ing been inside and looked around, I 
seriously doubt whether we actually 
could blow ourselves up." 

"Well, if you're living in South Cen- 
tral Los Angeles," says Gibson, "the 
world is a lot uglier than the world in Neu- 
romancer. And, in some cases, you'd 
be very lucky to wind up with the Neu- 
romancer future. It's hardly the most 
dystopian vision." 

The cyberpunk future is still up for 
grabs — between Utopia and dystopia. 
But indications are that the world will be 
one of corporate states, moving away 
from governments ot locales to govern- 
ments of multinational corporations 
whose increasing monopolization of in- 
formation wields more and more pow- 
er and control over individuals as well 
as nation states. The new tools for di- 
plomacy, politics, espionage, and ter- 
rorism will be electronic ones. 

While cyberpunk seems to have the 
potential for being the most potent, ef- 
fective, bohemian force ever to take on 
civilization, its impact remains to be 
seen. One thing, however, is certain: Cy- 
berpunk isn't just science fiction any- 
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Movie Titles: 

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Revenge Look Who's Talking 

Glow I Lor? You To Death 

Sreej Magnolias Family Business 
The Bear 

Male I I Female I I Age I I flVfi 

From the lab to the fields (left to right]: 

human chromosomes; scientist inoculating citrus rcolstock; 

simplified mode! of chromaten DNA; 

examining genetically engineered oranges for hardness. 

£ coli bacteria releasing DNA (below). 






Studying humans, plants, and animals 
(left to right): bacterial colonies; examining genetically 

improved corn; human DNA from a 
monocyte; preparing cancer- lighting interferon. DNA 

injected into a mouse embryo (below). 

Eleven-year-old Katie of 
North Reading, Massachu- 
setts, never liked running. She 
would quickly become exhaust- 
ed and cough terribly. Inevita- 
bly, she'd have to grab for the 
inhaler in her pocket to help 
her breathe. 

Katie has cystic fibrosis, an 
inherited disease that clogs 
the lungs with mucus. Until a 
year ago, she often fell prey to 
infections from bacteria that 
thrived in the mucus, and at 
times, her mother had to 

pound her back to loosen the 
mucus in her lungs so she 
could breathe clearly. But last 
fall, Katie began treatment at 
Children's Hospital in Boston, 
where doctors put her on a ge- 
netically engineered enzyme 
called DNase. It breaks up the 
mucus and temporarily pre- 
vents more from collecting. 
Now Katie can keep up with 
her classmates, and she's 
glad. "I can run without getting 
tired," she says. 

The wonder of biotechnolo- 

gy is everywhere. The gene 
makers have cured a little girl 
in Texas of an immune deficien- 
cy that would otherwise have 
killed her. They've engineered 
cotton plants that kill bugs, 
canola that is lower in saturat- 
ed fats, and roses that last long- 
er in the vase. "Pharmers," the 
newest breed of geneticists, 
have created animals that pro- 
duce cheap pharmaceuticals 
in their blood and milk; Pigs 
are generating human hemo- 
globin, while sheep are produc- 

ing a. hormone that helps fight 
life-threatening emphysema. 

And yet turning carefully 
controlled laboratory success- 
es- into widespread treatments 
for our hospitals, common 
crops for our supermarkets, 
and cost-effective drugs for 
our pharmacies is proving to 
be an unusually messy, com- 
plicated business. 

For example, the DNase 
that Katie takes certainly 
helps but hasn't cured her or 
her 16-year-old sister Jennifer. 

who also has cystic fibrosis. Affecting 

30,000 young people in the United 
States, the disease is often fatal by age 
30. Both girls continue to take antibiot- 
ics regularly and go to the hospital ev- 
ery three to five months to have their 
lungs cleaned out, a process that can 
take up to three weeks. Jennifer says 
she has more energy now. But the 
DNase also makes her voice hoarse, 
and occasionally, she coughs up 
blood. Her doctors still aren't sure ex- 
actly how much DNase to give her. "It 
would be good if they could figure out 
how much I should have," Jennifer 
says. "If I was on a lower dose, I think 
it would be better." 

Scientists and engineers who have 
strived for years in the research lab to 
develop treatments find that new bat- 
tles lake shape as treatments are trans- 
formed into effective end-products. And 
even when the science does prove out, 
numerous ethical and legal issues re- 
main to be resolved. 

As an industry, biotechnology is not 
really new but merely the latest stage 
in the corr.mccializaton of biology. The 
first four stages can be segmented loose- 
ly into the production' of beer and 
wine, bread and cheese, vitamins and 
pharmaceuticals, and systems for sew- 
age treatment. Today, gene teams 

concentrate on three distinct areas: d s- 
ease therapy and diagnostics, agricul- 
ture, and pharming. Certain fundamen- 
tals cross all categories: The nuclei of 
plant and animal cells hold chromo- 
somes, each made of a long, winding 
strand of DNA. A gene is a section of 
DNA; one DNA molecule can contain 
thousands of genes. 

Genetically engineered materials 
hold the promise of great industrial 
growth. Several key discoveries 
formed the basis for the emerging in- 
dustry, [n 1974, Stanley Cohen cloned 
the first gene using -the bacteria E. 
coii, today the standard cloning "ma- 
chine" found in every biotech lab. In 
1982, Richard Palmiter and Ralph Brin- 
ster fiddled with human-growth 
hormones, making them compatible 
with mouse cells; once injected into 
mice, the hormones created the first 
transgenic animals — those with genes 
from different species. Researchers 
now routinely use transgenic mice to 
test newly engineered substances. In 
1985, Kary Mullis invented the poly- 
merase chain reaction {PCR), which en- 
abled scientists to clone, in a few 
hours, huge quantities of any piece of 
a gene and to reconstruct a complete 
gene from a fragment. 

Then in 1990, surgeon W. French An- 

derson and colleagues at the National 
Institutes of Health (NIH) infused a miss- 
ing gene into a four-year-old girl suffer- 
ing from a rare, inherited immune defi- 
ciency similar to the one that killed 
David, the "bubble boy," in 1984. The 
compfelely new technique" ushered in 
the era of gene therapy. Instead of in- 
jecting needed proteins from genes 
grown in lab cultures, Anderson insert- 
ed corrective genes directly into the 
girl's body so she would produce the 
proteins on her own. 

The Food and Drug Administration 
(FDA) has already approved more 
than 20 genetically engineered medical 
substances for sale. Among the most 
widely distributed are human insulin, 
cloned at Genentech and marketed by 
Eli Lilly, and human-growth hormone, an- 
other Genentech product. Sales of Epo- 
gen, a genetically engineered drug 
made by Amgen that treats anemia in 
kidney- dialysis patients, topped S300 mil- 
lion last year. More than 30 therapeutics 
are expected to be in human trials by 
the end of the year. 

Yet nearly ail the products simply 
treat diseases rather than cure them. Fur- 
thermore, some of the treatments are on- 
ly marginally effective. 

The battle against hepatitis is a clas- 
sic case. Last year, the FDA approved 

the use of interferon-alpha2b for treat- 
ment of hepatitis-C. One of the earliest 
drugs produced by biotechnologisls, al- 
pha interferon was first cloned in 1979 
at Biogen. The biotechnology commu- 
nity hailed the FDA's recent approval as 
a landmark step because hepatitis-C 
does not respond to other drugs and it 
infects 170,000 Americans each year. 
Early trials showed that 40 to 45 per- 
cent of hepatitis-C patients improved as 
long as they continued to receive 
three doses a week. But 50 percent to 
75 percent of the patients relapsed 
once taken off the interferon. Doctors 
are now trying a mix of genetically en- 
gineered and natural drugs. 

An actual cure for hepatitis and oth- 
er diseases, however, rests with gene 
therapy. To treat his four-year-old pa- 
tient, Anderson removed the faulty im- 
munity cells, fitted them with a new 
gene, and returned them intravenously 
to the girl's body. Further infusions slow- 
ly built up the level of the corrected 
cells in her blood stream. Anderson be- 
gan treating a nine-year-old girl in 1991 
with equal success. Both children 
show no side effects. 

But even this advance is not perma- 
nent. The corrected cells die in time, 
meaning the girls must undergo infu- 
sions every few months. Now that step 

1 has worked, Anderson 
gene scheme that might lead to a life- 
long cure: He wants to attach a correct- 
ed gene to blood stem cells, which gen- 
erate fresh blood cells. The hope is 
that the patient will create her own new 
blood cells that carry the corrected 
gene. Anderson is awaiting FDA approv- 
al to try this procedure. He's also wait- 
ing for clearance to try gene transfer in 
cancer patients. 

If gene therapy is the ultimate weap- 
on against cystic fibrosis. Ronald Crys- 
tal of the National Heart, Lung, and 
Blood Institute, an investigator on the 
DNase trials, wants to lead the offen- 
sive. Cystic fibrosis results from a mal- 
functioning gene in cells lining the air- 
ways of the lungs. Scientists have fash- 
ioned a good gene that overrides the 
bad one but have run up against the 
problem of getting it into lung tissue. 
Crystal has found the solution in, of all 
things, a cold virus that infects the very 
same airways The virus can carry the 
beneficial gene into the tissue. The 
trick is to neuter the virus so that it can't 
replicate orice it burrows into the air- 
ways. Crystal's method works in labo- 
ratory rais. He hopes the FDA will give 
the OK for human trials in a year. "We're 
witness .ng a revolution in medicine." 
Crystal says. "What we've got to do now 

is get down to the business of applying 
it to patients." 

Part of that business Is finding 
agents, like viruses, that can smuggle 
corrected genes to ihe proper sites in 
the body. But Gary Nabel, of the How- 
ard Hughes" Medical Center at the Uni- 
versity of MiclYgan "ias gone a step fur- 
ther and elr-iraiod the vehicle altogeth- 
er; this spring he became the first sci- 
entist to inject doctored DNA directly in- 
to a patient's body. 

In all other gene-therapy trials to 
date, practitioners have had to remove 
cells from a patient, add the corrected 
gene, and return the cells to their right- 
ful place. In June, however, Nabel in- 
jected DNA right into the tumor tissue 
of a 67-year-old Michigan woman suf- 
fering from metastatic melanoma, the 
most deadly form of skin cancer; he has 
since treated two other patients with in- 
jectable gene therapy. The injections 
are just ihe begh-ihg cf treatment; com- 
plete results will not be available for 
quite some time. The injected DNA car- 
ried several trillion copies of a maver- 
ick gene. Once the DNA grabbed a foot- 
hold in the tumor, the genes were to trig- 
ger production of a protein called HLA- 
B7. This protein acts as an alarm to the 
body's immune system, causing it to 
send in armies of killer T cells that doc- 

V &■ ,.:J 

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tors believe can kill tumor tissue once 
they find the battlefield. In addition, Ma- 
bel's experiments with mice suggest 
that once the killer cells learn the iden- 
tifying marks of the tumor tissue, they 
may continue to seek and destroy it 
throughout the- body. 

Injection of DNA won't render virus- 
es and other gene vehicles obsolete, 
however. "No one approach will be 
king of the hill," Mabel predicts. "Differ- 
ent delivery systems will be used for dif- 
ferent diseases." 

That includes other cancers. Scien- 
tists'at ImmunoGen have begun ad- 
vanced trials of products that use mon- 
oclonal antibodies to target cells. A mon- 
oclonal antibody is a protein that binds 
to a unique marker, which may be 
found only on a single type of cell. Im- 
munoGen attaches a toxin to monoclo- 
nal antibodies to form "immunotoxins," 
which home in on, bind to, and destroy 
specific types of tumor cells. Immuno- 
Gen has chosen to use a derivative of 
the plant toxin ricin, the poison used by 
the Soviet KGB to kill Bulgarian dissi- 
dent Georgi Markov in London in 1978. 
ImmunoGen is testing four ricin-based 
immunotoxins in clinical trials for differ- 
ent types of cancer and has several oth- 
ers in development. 

Scientists at Cytogen have also en- 
tered the initial stages of fighting can- 
cer with monoclonal antibodies. Doctors 
are testing a Cytogen product on a hand- 
ful of women with advanced ovarian can- 
cer — those with fewer than four 
monlhs to live. Three of nine patients 
have survived for two years now, says 
Thomas McKearn, president and chief 
scientist. He is quick to point out, how- 
ever, that the women are not cured. 
Just the same, he says, "we are so en- 
couraged, we are extending the trials 
to men with prostate cancer." 

Monoclonal antibodies are also prov- 
ing instrumental in diagnosing disease 
as well as treating it. A Cytogen prod- 
uct called OncoScint, which pinpoints 
colorectal and ovarian cancer tissue, 
may soon hit the market. Cytogen sci- 
entists linked the radioactive isotope in- 
dium-111 to a monoclonal antibody 
that latches on to the cancer cells. Scan- 
ners detect the gamma rays emitted by 
the indium, revealing the alien tissue. 
The procedure, already tested on a thou- 
sand patients, provides a much more 
precise mapping than other tests such 
as CAT scans, according to McKearn. 
Furthermore, the antibodies reveal can- 
cer tissue wherever it occurs through- 
out the body, even in minute concen- 
trations that other tests miss. 

Even when patients have no chance 
for recovery, the indium test may still 
'help improve their quality of life. "The 

problem with traditional diagnoses is 
that doctors don't know if the cancer is 
too far gone," he says. ".Our test can 
show that. If a woman has only a few 
months to live, then why should she 
spend $10,000, suffer the trauma of sur- 
gery, and fill her body with drugs? She 
could use the money and the time to 
take a cruise with her family." 

Like therapeutics, agricultural biotech- 
nology teeters on the brink of broad com- 
mercialization but still has a struggle 
ahead of it. 

The groundwork was laid in the ear- 
ly 1980s when researchers at Monsanto 
developed a safe way to kill the moth 
larvae that devour much of the U.S. cot- 
ton crop, according to Roger Beachy, 
head of plant biology at the Scripps Re- 
search Institute in La Jolla, California. 
Conventional efforts to eradicate the lar- 
vae and other cotton pests account for 
40 percent of the insecticide used in the 

4The plant 

people at Scripps have 

begun to 

engineer crops, including 


and alfalfa, that can 

human materials, 9 

United States, Beachy says. The poi- 
sons damage the soil, threaten ground 
water, and kill wildlife. They also cost 
farmers lots of money. 

A team of researchers from Monsan- 
to conjured up a gene that causes the 
cotton to excrete a protein fatal to the 
larvae. As the insects munch the cot- 
ton, they die. The Monsanto team also 
created potato plants that can kill off the 
Colorado potato beetle, which in cer- 
tain years has caused wholesale loss- 
es of the crop. 

Widespread field trials across Texas, 
Mississippi, and the breadbasket 
states have been underway for five 
years. The bugs are dying, the plants 
are thriving, and the farmers use much 
less insecticide, Beachy says. Only one 
barrier to commercialization remains: reg- 
ulation. But that's a tough barrier to get 
around. Because the techniques are con- 
sidered to be pest control, they fall un- 
der the auspices of the Environmental 
Protection Agency. Edible plants must 
also pass muster at the U.S. Depart- 
ment of Agriculture. And if officials con- 

sider the proteins that the plants pro- 
duce to be food additives, the FDA has 
to get involved. 

For now, most scientists remain cau- 
tiously optimistic. If the regulators can 
cut a clear path, Beachy estimates 
that seeds for the engineered plants 
will go on sale by 1995. 

Work with cotton and potatoes falls 
a bit short of the lofty goal that first 
sparked the world's interest in agricul- 
tural genetics: finding hardier strains of 
staples like rice and wheat to help 
poor countries feed their starving peo- 
ples. That nut will prove much harder 
to crack, Beachy says. "Developing a 
gene that can kill a bug is relatively 
straightforward," he explains. "Creating 
staples that can withstand drought or 
salt or heat is much more complex. It 
involves a lot of genes." 

For the time being, horticulturists pre- 
pare to pursue that dream by gaining 
much-needed experience with commod- 
ity crops, where the market provides 
strong economic incentive for greater 
yields and healthier products. Scientists 
at DNA Plant Technology use biotech- 
nology to reduce the saturated-fat con- 
tent of canoia used for cooking oil, to 
create tobacco plants that can with- 
stand fatal frosts, and to improve the 
taste of tomatoes. 

Now for the really wild stuff. The 
plant people at Scripps have begun to 
engineer crops that can produce hu- 
man materials. Andrew Hiatt has creat- 
ed tobacco plants that produce human 
monoclonal antibodies within their 
leaves. His colleague Mich Hein is work- 
ing with alfalfa, They propose to 
achieve mass production of high-value 
pharmaceuticals at low cost; it drug man- 
ufacturers can squeeze even a small 
amount of a human therapeutic from 
plants, then they can get huge quanti- 
ties from large fields of the crop. Still 
unanswered, Beachy says, are wheth- 
er the antibodies can be purified easi- 
ly from the plant matter and whether 
they will act exactly like antibodies de- 
rived from lab cell cultures. 

What's new for plants is old for ani- 
mals. For several years now, pharmers 
have implanted genes in livestock so 
they produce human proteins for use in 

Results have come in fast and furi- 
ous in the last year. At Pharmaceutical 
Proteins Limited (PPL) in Edinburgh, 
Scotland, scientists have produced 
sheep that carry the human protein al- 
pha-1 -antitrypsin. Used to fight emphy- 
sema, antitrypsin is traditionally ex- 
tracted from human blood serum, but 
the process yields such small quanti- 
ties that it cannot meet demand. The sci- 
entists at PPL injected the antitrypsin 


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gene into fertilized egg cells taken 

from ewes, returned the altered embryo 
os to their mothers' wombs, and wait- 
ed for birth. Now the transgenic off- 
spring churn out the human protein in 
their milk at levels 15 times those pro- 
duced by blood plasma, according to 
Martyn Breeze at PPL. Given the con- 
centration, a modest, flock of 1,000 
ewes could match the entire world pro- 
duction of the protein. Clinical trials are 
still some years off, however. 

For producing pharmaceuticals in vol- 
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compounds in lab cultures generally pro- 
duces only a few milligrams of useful 
substances per liter. Sheep and goats 
can produce grams of the same sub- 
stances in their milk, a substantial in- 
crease. "But with a herd of cows, you're 
talking tons," says Robert Bremel, pro- 
fessor of dairy science at the Universi- 
ty of Wisconsin, Madison. 

Retrieving and implanling embryos, 
however, presents a bit of a surgical dif- 
ficulty. That, in turn, has led pharmers 
at DNX to turn to swine. Pigs have two 
litters a year and 10 to 13 piglets a lit- 
ter versus a single pregnancy and calf 
for a cow. DNX has poked its pigs with 
genes that produce human hemoglobin 
in the animals' blood. As an added ad- 
vantage, the hemoglobin can be lyophil- 
ized, or freeze-dried, says John 
Logan, vice president of research at 
DNX. Once lyophilized, it can remain vi- 
able in powder form at room tempera- 
ture for six months to a year. By con- 
trast, human red blood cells must stay 
refrigerated and last no more than 42 
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provides a temporary blood substitute 
when mixed with water, would greatly 
aid casualty care on the battlefield, 
Logan says. The powder could also be 
kept on hand in emergency medical ve- 
hicles and in blood banks. Logan an- 
ticipates human trials in 1994. 

Other biotechnology researchers 
have also turned to pigs. William Velan- 
der at Virginia Polytechnic Institute is 
working with the American Red Cross 
to extract genetically engineered hu- 
man protein C, used as an anticoagu- 
lant, from pigs' milk. If it lives up to its 
potential, this source of protein C will 
be abundant, lack the side effects 
seen with synthetic anticoagulants, and 
cost much less than protein C extracted 
from human plasma. Anticoagulants pre- 
vent clots in many heart-attack patients 
and during bloody surgeries such as 
hip replacements. 

Anticoagulants have already stirred 
up some controversy. One of the first 
engineered drugs was recombinant t- 
PA, made by Genentech. Though 

hailed as a wonder drug, studies last 
year showed it was no more effective 
at bursting blood clots than regular med- 
ications, notably streptokinase, used 
widely at hospitals. The issue is price: 
t-PA runs around $2,200 a treatment, 
while streptokinase costs about $400. 

The work of pharmers has drawn pro- 
' test over attempts to fool with Mother 
Nature. Wary onlookers worry that pa- 
tients who take drugs derived from an- 
imals might pick up scrapie or some oth- 
er barnyard disease. Folks at the din- 
ner table wonder if it's safe to eat pota- 
toes with killer genes. Others fear that 
genetic engineers might unknowingly 
create freakish plants or animals that 
could wreak havoc on the food chain. 
And could a ghoulish geneticist tinker 
with human beings, like a modern-day 
Dr. Frankenstein? 

Leading many of the protests is Jer- 
emy Rifkin, president of the litigious Foun- 
dation on Economic Trends and arch- 
enemy of genetically altered anything. 
Rifkin has initiated lawsuits to stop the 
open release of engineered crops, the 
patenting of pharm animals, and the 
use of human-growth hormone, 

Rifkin also plays politics. In 1990, Rep- 
resentative John Conyers (D- Michigan) 
introduced the Human Genome Priva- 
cy Act, which would forbid government 
agencies from disclosing anyone's ge- 
netic information without consent. Con- 
yers wants to limit the use of genetic test- 
ing by insurance companies, employ- 
ers, and others who might abuse the 
practice. Conyers resubmitted the leg- 
islation this year. At the prompting of 
Rifkin's foundation and several other 
groups, Representative Benjamin Car- 
din (D-Maryland) and Senator Mark Hat- 
field (R-Oregon} have initiated action to 
institute a five-year moratorium on pat- 
enting transgenic animals — more than 
160 patents are now pending — until reg- 
ulations governing the process are in 
place. Currently, Rifkin plans to fight the 
possible loosening of regulations that 
discipline the biotechnology industry, a 
move recommended in February by 
Dan Quayle's White House Council on 

Commercialization of biotechnology 
moves so fast, Rifkin says, that regula- 
tion lags behind. "The public is nervous. 
They are mindful of past lessons from 
high-tech industries— the dumping oi tox- 
ic wastes, Bhopal. They see benefits, 
but they're leery of the risks." 

Tension is mounting in other arenas, 
too. In- April, James Watson resigned as 
director of NIH's human-genome proj- 
ect. Watson, who shares a Nobel Prize 
with Francis Crick for unraveling the dou- 
ble-helix structure of DNA in 1953, 
stepped down when federal officials 

claimed his stock holdings in several bi- 
otechnology compar es might consti- 
tute a conflict of interest. 

Watson has said that he felt NIH di- 
rector Bernadine Healy had finagled the 
situation to push him out, in part because 
of public disagreements between the 
two over whether NIH should attempt to 
patent gene sequences. 

Indeed, the patent attempt has fu- 
eled a roiling, international controversy. 
Last year, J. Craig Venter, a scientist at 
NIH, applied for patents for 347 gene 
pieces he and his colleagues had iden- 
tified as part of the human-genome proj- 
ect, the attempt to map the estimated 
100,000 genes in the human body. In 
February of this year, he applied for 
2,300 more. Venter and his colleagues 
have no idea what the gene sequenc- 
es do; they've simply identified them. 
Healy defended the move, saying the 
sequences will likely prove fundamen- 
tal to a healthy U.S. biotechnology in- 
dustry. European governments have at- 
tacked the patent applications as 

The issues will get more complex. Bi- 
otechnologists have so far confined 
Iheir work on human genetics to somat- 
ic cells— those that don't affect heredi- 
ty. But tampering with the germ line is 
the next step. Once that occurs, the 
gene makers can move on to enhance- 
ment engineering, the creation of peo- 
ple who grow taller or stronger, for ex- 
ample. Then comes the ultimate at- 
tempt at eugenics, the insertion of 
genes to alter complex human traits 
like intelligence and personality. 

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French Anderson wrote in a recent ed- 
itorial. "But it is the slippery slope lead- 
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A presumptuous 
soul once 
said that God made 
space and time 
so that everything 
wouldn't happen in the 
same place at the 
same time. But per- 
haps everything is in the 
same place and does 
happen all at once. 
Space may be some- 
thing other than 
the concept that de- 
veloped from our 
common-sense notion 
of place, which 
developed into the very 
useful idea of abso- 
lute space, and which 
then, in turn, was 
overthrown in favor of 
relational theories 
linking space, time, 
and matter. 

One of the earliest 
difficulties in think- 
ing about distance was 
encountered by 
Zeno of Elea (born 
around 490 B.C.). 
According to Zeno's 




Paradox-, you have to go half the dis- 
tance to anywhere before you can go 
the whole way, and then half of the re- 
maining distance, and then half of 
that, ad infinitum — which means you'll 
never arrive at any destination; and by 
the same token, you must pass half the 
time before you pass the whole time — 
which should prevent football games 
from ever ending (many football widows 
already feel that games go on forever). 
In a playful mood, one might even ap- 
ply Zeno's idea of the infinite divisibili- 
ty of distance to the problem of expla- 
nation. To explain anything, one must 
give half of it first, and then half of the 
remaining half, and then half of that— 
which suggests that all explanations 
may be endless. 

These and other difficulties with 
space have led many to suspect that 
space and time may be only psycho- 
logical states, having some basis in ex- 
ternal physics but no literal reality with- 
out the participation of observers. Even 
when we try to imagine spacetime as it 
might be outside human psychology, 
we still sneak in a surreptitious human 
observer — ourselves imagining what ■ 
spacetime would be like without us. 
Space is either something, or a zero 
field — absolute nothing between some- 
things, which many claim is not only im- 

possible but incomprehensible, or 
space is a mental construct, built up with- 
in minds to the point where we experi- 
ence it as a literal reality of three dimen- 
sions and time. An analogy would be 
the "sense" we develop for information- 
al space while working at a computer. 
Listening to music also gives us a 
sense of space, which we build up out 
of informational cues. Reality may be a' 
"virtual reality." Its true nature may be 
quite different from what we experience 
just as a motion picture gives us the il- 
lusion of dimensionality on what is ac 
tually aflat surface. 

We have this intuition that we can' 
prove — that space, distance, is malle 
able, even that it should be malleable 
This wish appears in the story of the sev- 
en-league boots, in numerous science- 
fiction stories, and has been taken 
in serious scientific journals in rec 
years. Star Trek proclaims that we 
go with pride among the stars, looking 
out from the bridges of powerful ves- 
sels that will roll up space in front of 
them as if it were a rug. Space must be 
malleable, we tell ourselves as we 
dream of far stars. 

When we try to think about distance 
outside the framework of well-defined 
physical and mathematical terms, we 
are taken aback by the sudden mys- 

tery, by the seeming unreality of dis- 
tance on the one hand, and by our ex- 
perience of its cumbersome physical 
character on the other. What is this 
thing called distance? To see what we 
call the space between objects as un- 
usual, fresh, and strange, even inexpli- 
cable . . . that is the psychological chal- 
lenge for observers: to see space with 
the puzzlement of a child who doesn't 
have the given conceptual tools with 
which to interpret- 
In Concepts of Space, Max Jammer 
points out the irony of the founders of 
materialistic philosophy, the atomists, 
struggling with a new conception of re- 
ality, the existence of nonmaterial 
void, and having to be the first to say 
that "a thing might be real without be- 
ing a body." 

The answer to Zeno's Paradox is of- 
ten given by saying that motion does 
not proceed from point to point; things 
go continuously, not digitally. But this 
description has its own strangeness, re- 
quiring that the universe be full, all of 
one piece, which suggests that every- 
thing is in one place. This undercuts all 
of our traditions of physical analysis (by 
which we take things apart into pieces 
in order to explain them) in favor of a 
grand monism, in which all is one and 
all distinctions blur. 

In a changing world, 
one thing remains rock solid 

Let's start at the beginning, if there 
is such a place, and say what we think 
we know about distance. In reading an 
introductory technical book titled What 
is Distance? by lu. A. Shreider, 1 was 
struck by how much it is possible to dis- 
cuss the varieties of distance without ev- 
er taking a stab at what distance is, in 
itself, in what may be described as the 
naive demand of the question. We are 
given contextual answers, based on 
mathematical and physical concepts 
that we are asked to assume, whose or- 
igins lie deep in our psychology, and 
which Einstein described as being 
"free creations of the human imagina- 
tion, means devised for easier com- 
prehension of our sense experience." 
But these means still leave us free to 
ask the naive, __ obvious ques- 
tion, "What 
and the 
lack of a 

answer leaves us with a sense of the 

Do we know anything except 
through the narrow angles of our sens- 
es and linguistic conceptions? The prob- 
lem with understanding space is that 
we are embedded in it with no way to 
compare it to anything else Zeno de- 
vised a description of the problem in his 
"nest of superimposed places," which 
regress into infinity. Since all things are 
in a place, that place must itself be in 
something, and that place is in anoth- 
er place, and so on. This also suggests 
that dimensionality is a thing insepara- 
ble from a body. 

But we all feel that we know space 
as being different from the bodies it con- 
tains. Just reach out and wave your 
hand around in it; then take your hand 
away, and the space is still there! 
Space seems an irreducible intuition of 
. our bodies, not derivable from anything 
else, even though it does seem to 
have a relative — time, which 
s. seems to tick away in 
one direction, 

you sit in a space or move through it. 
Perhaps distances at the subatomic 
level might offer a clue since they hark 
back to the time when everything was 
in one place, before the Big Bang "be- 
ginning" inflated everything. Quantum- 
level distanges are discontinuous, as 
we perceive them; objects jump from 
point to point without traveling the dis- 
tance. In the conditions ol the early uni- 
verse, or "preuni verse," one has to say 
that ordinary intuitions about space and 
time just don't apply since there is no 
way to define space or time; so when 
our conceptions begin to apply, we can 
say that space and time begin at that 
point, which seems evasive. 

The stubborn logic of naive intuition 
insists that even when the universe was 
an unshattered point, there was a 
place, and there was some kind of me- 
taduration. Perhaps distance (: 
as we perceive it, is what you get 
when you shatter a unity and then in- 
flate it so that space is what exists be- 
tween the pieces that still seem to 
"know" each other. 
' Our best historical descriptions of 
space are 1) distance as absolute 
space and 2) distance as a relation. 
Absolute space may be 
H|^^^^^^_ thought of as what is 
""**— ■' ftfei r ■ outside the 

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universe, into which it expands, while 
relative space, inseparable from the ob- 
jects it contains, is what you get with 
an expanding cosmos, in which space 
itself is expanding. What is outside this 
process may be a "superspace" that 
may be needed for conceptual reasons 
but which we can't examine. It is, in ef- 
fect, our old friend, absolute space — 
infinite, uncreated, baffling. 

Today's physics and cosmology 
tend to avoid discussions of absolute 
space and time. Experimental facts con- 
firm relative space and time. Space can 
bedescribed in the context of physics 
and mathematics but not explained out- 
side of very limited terms. This leaves 
existence as enigmatic as ever. 

Perhaps there is neither relative nor 
absolute space, only processes inside 
a dimensionless point, which is every- 
thing that can ever be, and always was, 
and in which we "perceive" space and 
time; but there is only an eternal pre- 
sent, in which everything has always 
been together. This kind of speculation 
eliminates the need for fundamental ex- 
planations in which things are de- 
scribed and analyzed into pieces, 
much as we would explain a machine 
by taking it apart and showing how the 
parts work together. Gravity's action at 
a distance might be nothing of the sort 
but more like objects being squeezed 
toward each other in a fluid. Existence 
is full; there is no space in the naive 
sense of nothingness. There just 
couldn't be, either physically or psycho- 
logically, because it would give us dis- 
continuities in analysis that could nev- 
er be bridged. 

Fundamental explanations about the 
nature of reality finally seem to require 
an infinite, uncreated realm that did not 
come intp being but which undergoes 
processes to which we are integrally 
joined, thus giving us a sense of time. 
(There seems to be no time as such.) 
In science as in theology, this concep- 
tion provides an absolute field in 
which things happen. No one asks 
where the field came from just as no 
one asks who created God. The buck 
has to stop somewhere; somehow we 
either have to be able to stop asking 
why or accept endless whys. 

In A Brief History of Time, Stephen 
Hawking has written that "if the universe 
is really completely self-contained, hav- 
ing no boundary or edge, it would 
have neither beginning nor end: It 
would simply be." This prompted Carl 
Sagan to comment that in Hawking's uni- 
verse, there is nothing for a creator to 
do. With a little more imagination, one 
might say that if superspace (in which 
our universe expands and contracts) is 
actually infinite in all respects, then it 


could never have been created; it ex- 
ists necessarily, in the same way theo- 
logians insist that God exists. In such 
an infinite realm, space is exactly that — 
void, nothingness — and exists as 
such; but within the universes that su- 
perspace supports, space is something 
else, a substance wedded to matter, 
curved in the large, folded up in the sub- 
atomic. We will never know true void; 
we can only define it intellectually. 

Naive realism — the notion that we 
see things as they are and that our in- 
tuitions are trustworthy — was once the 
only science of civilizations. Still the 
source of experimental, empirical sci- 
ence today, it is the view that however 
much we imagine and postulate, all our 
imaginings must rejoin the world of ex- 
perience through an experiment that af- 
firms or denies a hypothesis, or fails to 
affirm or deny, and that may violate our 
intuitions. Experiment (a form of organ- 

6We who 

are condemned to 

life in 

spacetime will always 

have to 

speak in terms that cannot 

their field of discussion.? 

ized experience) is to be accepted, how- 
ever counterintuitive the result. This plac- 
es a severe restriction on what modern 
science can deal with and is the 
source of common dissatisfactions 
with scientific answers to basic ques- 
tions; the answers just don't get basic 
enough and stop short even when log- 
ic and imagination continue to reach out 
into the unknown. One may hope that 
the experimental method may one day 
find application to questions that now 
defy our reason. 

Earth, Air, Fire, Water, the Greek at- 
omists said, are all made of little hard 
balls — close together for dense things, 
far apart for lighter things like steam and 
fire. These hard balls were thought to 
be irreducible — that's just how they are 
(I). They were either made by God or 
they always existed. Space was just 
that — actual emptiness between 
things, also irreducible, incapable of be- 
ing affected, bent, or shaped, taking ab- 
solute, not relative, time to cross. 

Naive realism might ask today: Tell 
me what space is in itself, not in terms 

of other things. Tell me what a gluon is, 
at bottom, or a neutrino, or a charge. 
Don't just give me definitions of metric 
spaces. And when pressed, physicists 
will tell you that the universe we see, 
blown up from a point, is next to noth- 
ing at all, almost a ghost, a 
thought . . . and they will avoid speculat- 
ing about who or what may be "think- 
ing" it and what "nothing" may be. 

If Kurt Godel was right about the in- 
completeness of complex systems and 
that we can see the truth of statements 
without being able to prove them in 
their frame of reference, then many peo- 
ple have already guessed something of 
the nature of our universe; but to prove 
such guesses would require that we 
stand outside. We who are condemned 
to life in spacetime will always have to 
speak in terms that cannot escape 
their field of discussion. That is what it 
means to be one of the finite facets 
that are human minds. Physics, yoking 
speculation to physical experiment and 
observation, may be all we can have out- 
side of pure imagining. 

We would like to rip back the veil and 
see knowledge naked and complete, 
seated before us in shame and subju- 
gation. That's how naive realism wants 
its knowledge: no more hide-and- 
seek, no more maddening infinities. 
Just let me know what it's all about for 
one moment before I die. 

Remember, to avoid Zeno's Paradox 
as applied to knowledge, never give 
half an explanation before you go the 
full one. Never go half the distance be- 
fore you go the full distance. Always go 
the full distance at one shot. 

What the naive realist most wants is 
probably best represented by what Ein- 
stein called "the thought experiment," 
usually a small story and probably the 
purest form of science fiction. A good 
example is the opening to "No Matter 
Where You Go," a story by Joel Town- 
sley Rogers: 

I sighted the boundary of space- 
time with Henley ten billion light- 
years from Earth. Rippled and black 
as volcanic glass, it loomed in front 
of us in a huge endless curving wall. 

The ship flew against it like a 
wind-blown midge, swirled sidelong 
in the terrific vacuum torrents rush- 
ing around the inside surface of the 
sphere. In the dark blue void behind its 
spider-thread of contrail the white 
imploding galaxies dropped away 
like slanting rain, vanishing far below. 

We were beyond the farthest 
lost neutrino of any creation, the first 
or last stroke of any time. Yet for a 
moment as long as all the world, the 
wall seemed to remain equidistant, re- 

volts. Those big numbers gel all the 
press, bul it's only when particles inter- 
act that experiments bear fruit. The 
bunches of protons want to pass 
through each other like ghosts, so we — 
the High Beta Experiment Team, my 
work group — had all sorts of tricks for 
getting more interactions. Our first full- 
energy shots were coming up, and 
when the beams collided in Experimen- 
tal Area 1, we would be rewarded for 
years of design and experiment. 

So I had thought. Now I rode a 
great circle above the SSC, haunted by 
questions about infinity, singularity — 
improbable manifestations even among 
the wonderland of quantum physics, 
where nothing was— quite — real. And 
more than that, I was needled and un- 
settled by questions about the way we — 
not my group but all of us, the high- 
energy physics community — did our 
business. I'd always taken for granted 
that we were after the truth, whatever 
its form, whatever our feelings about it. 
Now even that simple assumption had 
collapsed, and I was left with unresolv- 
able doubts about it all — the nature of 
the real, the objectivity of physics- 
riddles posed by an unexpected visitor. 

Two nights earlier I had returned 
from a ride to find a woman standing 
in front of my house. "Hello," I said, as 
I walked the Invisible Bicycle up the 
driveway toward her. "Can I help you?" 

"I'm Carol Hendrix," she said, and 
from the sound of her voice, she was 
just a little bit amused. "Are you Sax?" 

"Yes," I said. And I asked, "Why 
didn't you teli me you were coming?" 
Really I was just stalling, trying to take 
in the fact that this woman was the one 
I'd been writing to for the past six 

We had begun corresponding in our 
roles as group leaders at our respec- 
tive labs, 'me at SSC-Texlab, her at Los 
Alamos, but had continued out of 
shared personal concerns: a mutual ob- 
session with high-energy physics and 
an equally strong frustration with the 
way big-time science was conducted — 
the whole extrascientific carnival of 
politics and publicity that has sur- 
rounded particle accelerators from 
their inception. 

Her letters were sometimes helter- 
skelter but were always interesting — 
reports from a powerful, disciplined in- 
telligence working at its limits. She had 
the kind of mind I'd always appreciat- 
ed, one comfortable with both experi- 
ment and theory. You wouldn't believe 
how rare that is in high-energy physics. 

Women in the sciences can be hard 
and distant and self-protective, be- 
cause they're working in a man's world 
and they know what that means. They 

84 OMNI 

tell each other the stories, true ones: 
about Rosalind Franklin not getting the 
Nobel for her x-ray work .on DNA, Can- 
dace Pert not getting the Lasker for the 
first confirmation of opiate receptors in 
the brain. And so they learn the truth: 
in most kinds of science, there are few 
women, and they have to work harder 
and do better to get the same credit as 
men, and they know it. That's the way 
things are. 

Carol Hendrix looked pale and tired, 
young and vulnerable — not at all what 
I'd expected. She was small, thin- 
boned, and her hair was clipped short. 
She wore faded blue jeans, a shirt tied 
at the waist, and sandals over bare 

"I didn't have time to get in touch 
With you," she said. Then she laughed, 
and her voice had a ragged, nervous 
edge to it. "No, that's not true. I didn't 
get in touch with you because I knew 

iWomen in the 

sciences can be hard 

and distant 

and self-protective, 

because they're 

working in a man's world 

and they 
know what that means. 9 

how busy you were, and you might 
have told me to come back later. I can't 
do that. We need to talk, and I need 
your help . . . now — before you do 
your first full-beam runs." . 

"What kind of help?" I asked. Al- 
ready, it seemed, the intimacy of our let- 
ters was being transformed into instant 
friendship in realtime. 

"I need Q-system time," she said. 
She meant time on QUARKER, the lab's 
simulation and imaging system. She 
said, "I've got some results, but 
they're incomplete — I've been working 
with kludged programs because at Los 
Alamos we're not set up for your work. 
I've got to get at yours. If my simula- 
tions are accurate, you need to post- 
pone your runs." 

I looked hard at her. "Right," I said. 
"That's great — just what Diehl wants to 
hear. That you want precious system 
time to confirm a hypothesis that could 
fuck up our schedule." 

"Diehl is a bureaucrat," she said. "He 
doesn't even understand the physics." 

Yeah, I thought, true, but so what? 

Roger L. Diehl: my boss and everyone 
else's at the lab, also the SSC's guard- 
ian angel. He had shepherded the ac- 
celerator's mammoth budgets through 
a hostile Congress, mixing threat and 
promise, telling them strange tales 
about discoveries that lay just at the 200 
TeV horizon, All in all, he continued the 
grand tradition of accelerator lab nobil- 
ity: con men, politicians, visionaries, 
what have you. Going back to Law- 
rence at Berkeley, accelerator labs pros- 
pered under hard-pushing megaloma- 
niacs whose talents lay as much in pol- 
itics and PR as science, men whose 
labs and egos were one. 

"Let's talk," I said. "Come inside; 
tell me your problem." 

"All right," she said. 

"Where are you staying?" I asked. 

"I thought I'd find some place later, 
after we've talked." 

"You can stay here. Where are your . 

"This is it." She pointed to the side- 
walk beside her. At her feet was a soft, 
black cotton bag. 

"Come on in'," I said. 

I figured she would be doing interest- 
ing work, unusual work — maybe even 
valuable work, if she'd gotten lucky I 
wasn't the least bit ready for what she 
was up to. 

We cranked up "The Thing," a recent 
development in -imaging. It had a wall- 
mounted screen four feet in diameter; 
on it you could picture detector results 
from any of the SSC's. runs. When it was 
running, the screen was a tangle of 
lines, the tracks of the particles, their col- 
lisions, disappearances, appearances; 
all the wonderland magic so character- 
istic of the small, violent world of parti- 
cle physics, where events occur in bil- 
lionths or a second, and matter appears 
and disappears like the Cheshire cat, 
leaving behind only its smile — in the 
form of brightly colored particle tracks 
across our screens. 

Still, setting up and running simula- 
tions is an art, and at any accelerator 
lab there'll be one or two folk who have 
the gift. When a series of important 
shots is coming up, they don't get 
much sleep. At Los Alamos, Carol Hen- 
drix, despite her status as group lead- 
er, was the resident wizard. At Texlab, 
we had Dickie Boy. 

She stretched, then sat at the swing- 
arm desk with its keyboard and joystick 
module and logged on to QUARKER 
with the account name and passwords 
I gave her. Her programs were number- 
crunching bastards, and QUARKER's 
Cray back end would be time-slicing 
like mad to fit them in. 

"Tell me what this is all about," I 

said. "So I'll know what we're looking 
at when this stuff runs." 

"Sure," she said. 

While we waited for QUARKER, she 
drew equations and plots on my white- 
board in red, green, black, and yellow, 
and she explained that she was postu- 
lating Ihe existence of a new kind of at- 
tracted that came into being in a region 
of maximum chaos, its physical result 
an impossible region of spacetime, 
where an infinite number of particle 
events occupied a single, infinitesimal 

Mathematically and otherwise, it is 
called a singularity, and in cosmology 
something like it is assumed to be at the 
center of black holes. There were all 
sorts of theorems about singularities, 
few of which I knew, none rigorously. 
Why would I? This stuff went with as- 
trophysics and the gravitational forces 
associated with huge chunks of mass. 

When she finished her explanations 
and turned from the whiteboard, I 
could see that she was wired and 
sleepy at once. Mostly, though, she was 
exultant: She felt she'd hit the jackpot. 
And of course she had, if any of this 
made sense ... it couldn't, I thought. 

The Thing gonged, to tell us we had 
our results. I pulled up a canvas-back- 
ed chair beside her as she sat at the 
console. "We'll walk through the simu- 
lation," she said. "If you have a ques- 
tion, ask." 

At first there were just cartoon sche- 
matics of the detectors — line drawings 
of the big central detector and its sur- 
rounding EM boxes, hadron calorime- 
ters, and gas chambers. Then the 
beam shots started coming, and in a 
small window at the top of the screen, 
the beam parameters reeled by. Run- 
ning a Monte Carlo is one hell of a lot 
easier than doing an actual run; you 
don't have the experimental uncertain- 
ties about good beam, good vacuum, 
reliable detector equipment; it's a sim- 
ulation, so everything works right. 

As we watched, the usual sorts of 
events occurred, particles and antipar- 
ticles playing their spear-carrying 
roles in this drama, banging together 
and sending out jets of energy that 
QUARKER dutifully calculated, watch- 
ing the energy-conservation books the 
whole time, ready to signal when some- 
thing happened it couldn't fit into the 
ledger. Complex and interesting 
enough in its own way, all this, but just 

QUARKER shifted gears all of a sud- 
den, signaling it had so many collisions 
it could not track them accurately. The 
screen turned into what we called a 
hedgehog, a bristly pattern of interac- 
tions too thick to count. 

"We don't care," Carol Hendrix whis- 
pered. "Do it." And she forced QUARK- 
ER to pfunge ahead, made it speed 
up Ihe pictures of events. She didn't 
care about the meanings of the individ- 
ual events; she was looking for some- 
thing global and, I thought, damned 

Events unrolled until we seemed to 
be in the middle of the densest parti- 
cle interactions this side of the Big 
Bang, and I almost forgot what we 
were there for, because this stuff was 
the product of my work, showing that, 
as promised, we would give the exper- 
imenters higher beam luminosity than 
they'd dreamed of having. 

Then the numbers of collisions less- 
ened, and that was the first time 1 be- 
lieved she was on to something. 
Things were going backwards. The 
beam continued to pour in its streams 
of particles, but all usual interactions 

unrolled until we 

were in 
the middle of the 

particle interaction 

this side 
of the Big Bang. 9 

had ceased: Inside the beam pipes, 
one utterly anomalous point was absorb- 
ing all that came its way. We both sat 
in complete silence, watching the im- 
The screen cleared, then said: 


Quantitative evaluation appears im- 
possible employing standard assump- 
tions. The conclusions stated do not per- 
mit unambiguous physical interpretation. 

We lay in reclining chairs and watched 
the sky. The moon was down, and 
stars glittered gold against the black. 
Meteors cut across the horizon, parti- 
cles flashing through the universe's 
spark chamber. We'd been drinking 
wine, and we were both a little high — 
the wine, sure, both of us drinking on 
empty stomachs, but more than that, 
the sense of discovery she had com- 
municated to me. 

"Finding the order behind the visi- 
ble," she said. "I've wanted to be part 
of that for as long as I can remember. 

And at Los Alamos I've gotten a taste. 
They offered me a job two years ago, 
and the offer just caught me at the 
right time. I had done some work I was 
proud of, but it was frustrating — it's easy 
for a woman to become a permanent 
post-doc. And to make things worse, 
I'd always worked in my husband's 

"He's a physicist?" 

"Yes. At Stanford, at SLAC, We've 
been separated since I took the job. 
The two things, the job and the split- 
up, sort of came as a package." She 
stopped, and the only sound was the 
faint roar of cars down the Interstate 
nearby. She said, "Tell me what hap- 
pens tomorrow." 

"That depends on Diehl's reaction. I'll 
see him in the morning. First I'll ask to 
borrow our resident imaging expert. 
That is, if I can pry him loose. I'm figur- 
ing Diehl won't want to look at any of 
this stuff; he might want a report on it, 
if I can talk to him just right. After that, 
we'll see." 

"Okay," she said. "Look, I'm really 
tired. . . ." 

"I'm sorry. I should have said some- 
thing." I started to get up, but she 
said, "No, I'm fine. I'll see you in the 
morning." She waved good night and 
headed into the house; I'd shown her 
the guest room earlier and folded out 
the' couch for her. 

I lay watching the sky, my mind cir- 
cling around the strangeness we'd 
seen earlier. 1 wanted to understand it 
all more clearly than I did, and I hoped 
that Dickie Boy would be a help. In par- 
ticular, he might know where her simu- 
lations had gone wrong. They had to be 
wrong, or else. . . . 

I sipped at wine and wondered at the 
possibility that I was present at one of 
those moments in physics that get em- 
balmed and placed into the history 
books. I suppose I was still wondering 
when I fell asleep. 

I was jerked awake some time later 
by a noise like high wind through met- 
al trees. Amber flashes of light came 
from the side of the house, and a piano- 
shaped machine rolled out on clear plas- 
tic treads, ripping chunks of sod with 
its aerating spikes as it came. The ma- 
chine was a John Deere Yardman, ap- 
parently run amok. 

I went into the house and called 
Grounds and Maintenance. A few min- 
utes later a truck pulled up, and a man 
in dark-blue overalls got out and 
called the robot to him with a red-light- 
ed control wand, then cracked an ac- 
cess hatch in its side. Optic fibers 
bloomed in the robot's interior like phos- 
phorescent alien plants. 

I awoke around eight-thirty the next 
morning. Carol Hendrix was still in bed; 
I let her sleep. I left a message on 
Diehl's machine asking for a few min- 
utes person-to-person; then I drank cof- 
fee and worked again through her Mon- 
te Carlos: lovely work, plausible and ele- 
gant, but almost certainly not enough 
to move Diehl. How could it? As she 
had said, he wouldn't- understand it. 

However, I knew who would. In the 
event that Dickie Boy vetted her simu- 
lations, we'd take them to the Thursday 
Group that evening. We met weekly at 
Alle'nson's house. Every important 
work group at the lab was represent- 
ed, and every significant problem the 
groups worked on was discussed 
there. Thursday Group was the locus of 
oral tradition, the place where the lab's 
work was revealed and its meaning de- 
cided upon. By the time experimental 
results saw print, they were old news 
to anyone who had been to Thursday 
Group. Usually there were ten or so 
people there, all men, most in their mid 
30s, most of them white, and the rest 

Midmorning she came in, wearing 
old Levis and a black tank top. "Any 
news?" she asked, and I told her no. 
She got a cup of coffee and sat next to 
me and watched as her simulations 

■Shortly after noon a message 
popped up in a window on the screen: 
If you want to talk, meet me in section 
27 within the next hour. Diehl. 

"Do you want me to come along?" 
she asked, and I said, "No way. He's a 
tricky bastard to handle at the best of 
times." I left her sitting at the console, 
starting the Monte Carlos up again. 

I rode the Invisible Bicycle to the shut- 
tle station at Maingate and locked it in 
the rack outside. Down concrete steps 
I went and into the cold, musty air of 
the tunnel. A dark-blue, bullet-shaped 
shuttle car sat waiting, I was the only 
one boarding. I told the car where I was 
going. "Section 27," it confirmed in its 
colorless voice. 

The repetitive color scheme of the lat- 
tice flashed by the windows. Radiofre- 
quency boosters were in red, supercon- 
ducting dipoles in blue, quadrupoles in 
orange; the endless beam pipes, 
where the straw-thin beams of protons 
and antiprotons would circle, were 
long arcs of bright green. If there were 
a universal symbolism of colors, these 
would say, intricate, precise, expensive, 
technologically superb — the primary 
qualities of the SSC. 

About ten minutes later, the car 
slowed to a stop. The doors slid back, 
and I stepped down into the tunnel. 
About fifty meters away, Diehl stood talk- 
as OMNI 

ing to a man wearing blue overalls with 
the yellow flashes of a crew chief. The 
man looked taut, white-faced. "So pull 
every goddamned dipole with that 
batch number and replace the smart 
bolts," Diehl said. They walked toward 
me, and the crew chief stopped at a 
com station and plugged in his head- 
set, no doubt beginning the evil task 
Diehl had set him. 

"What can I do for you, Sax?" he 

"I've got a visitor," I said. "From Los 
Alamos. And she's got some interest- 
ing simulations of our full-power shots. 
I think you ought to see them." He 
looked startled; he hadn't expected me 
to ask for his time— money, resources, 
priority, yes, but not his time. "Or may- 
be not," I said. "Maybe you should let 
me have Dickie Boy put her Monte Car- 
los on The Thing. She's got some 
strange stuff there, and if it works out, 

Group was the locus 

of oral 

tradition, the place 

where the 

lab's work was revealed 

and its 
meaning decided upon. 9 

we need to be prepared," 

"Sax, what the fuck are you talking 
about? I'm tired, you know? We're in the 
home stretch here, on budget, on 
time . . . now take Hoolan. — you know, 
who heads the Meson Group — he 
knows nothing about this, He knows his 
experiments are coming up soon, his 
simulations do not make shit lor sense, 
and Dickie Boy is the one to help him. 
But if he is not available because you 
have him doing what you consider the 
Lord's work, Hoolan's going to be pis- 
sed, because he cannot understand 
why, in light of these approaching dead- 
lines, he should have to come begging 
ior assistance." 

"Then maybe you should come look 
at what she's got." 

I was playing a tricky game, using 
my position as group leader to put pres- 
sure on him but betting he wouldn't 
want to give up valuable time and may- 
be expose his ignorance. "I think this 
is really important." 

He was watching the crew chief ex- 
plain to six men that they would be work- 

ing in the tunnel until the troublesome 
smart bolts had been replaced. None 
of them looked happy. "Jesus," Diehl 
said. "Take Dickie Boy if you can con- 
vince him." 

"Thanks," I said. He looked at me 
like he tasted something sour. I owed 
him one, and one thing was sure: He'd 
collect when and where he wanted, 

"You really like this thing, don't you?" 
Carol Hendrix asked as she reached up 
to touch one of the Invisible Bicycle's 
clear polystyrene tires. It hung from rub- 
ber-covered hooks just inside my front 

"Yeah," I said. "I got it in Germany. 
It's just plastic, but there's something 
wonderful about it— almost the Platon- 
ic idea of a bicycle. There's one in the 
Museum of Modern Art." Hanging 
above her head, it seemed to glow in 
the soft light given off by baby spots. 
"I usually ride it to think." 

"What do we do now?" she asked. 
She wasn't interested in my toy. 

"We get Dickie Boy over here," I 
said. "If we can. I'll call him." 

"New physics," I told Dickie Boy on 
the phone. "Nothing you've ever 

"Bullshit," he said. 

"No bullshit. Wrong physics, maybe — 
that's what we want' you to help with, 
find' out if we're missing something 

"Or something obvious." He had no 
respect for anyone's ability on The 
Thing but his own. 

"I don't think so. I think we've got a 
whole set of tracks here like nothing 
you've ever seen." 

"I've got the Meson Group on my 

"I know. Diehl said I could borrow 
you today." 

"Where do you want me?" 

"Come over to my house." No way 
I wanted anyone looking over our 

Dickie Boy had made his name as a 
post-doc at Fermilab where Diehl had 
recruited him when the SSC was noth- 
ing but a stack of plans, an empty tun- 
nel, and mounds of heaped dirt. He 
hadn't been brought on for his good 
looks; He stood just over six feet tall and 
weighed maybe a hundred and thirty 
pounds; his dull, brown hair was tied in- 
to dreadlocks; he had a long, thin 
nose and close-set" eyes and usually 
seemed slightly dirty. However, in his 
brief time at Texlab he had already 
made legendary forays on The Thing — 
the last, a tricky sequence of pion stud- 
ies, lasted nearly seventy-two hours, dur- 
ing which time Dickie Boy had worked 
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Your own DNA on a com- 
pact disc? Your 
future health "summarized"? 

What we can 
ultimately expect of the 

human genome 

project — from the father 

of biotechnology 


mot long ago, Harvard mo- 
lecular biologist and lab 
chief Walter Gilbert met with his 
staff to hear how researcher 
Carl Bjlweiler had inserted a nov- 
el gene into the first cell of a Ze- 
bra fish embryo. Fulweiler's 
slides showed that as the em- 
bryo developed, wherever the 
gene was expressed, the cells 
lit up like green iireflies. Since 
then, the Zebra fish model has 
proven an effective method for 
tracking how genes control the 
growth and formation of a.crea- 
ture as it matures— a major 
theme of Gilbert's lab. Today, 
hundreds of Zebra fish populate 
three rooms of aquaria in the 
basement of Harvard's Biologi- 
cal Laboratories. 

Clad in a sports shirt and 
worn hush puppies, Gilbert lis- 
tens with a typically inscrutable 
but genial smile as Fulweiler 
talks and then fields questions — 
some barbed with rivalry — from 
the audience. As the discussion 
gets tangled, Gilbert steps in 
and gently picks out valid 
leads, dismissing other sugges- 
tions as weak or even "a bad 
idea." His mind dominates the 
room. As everyone drifts back 
to their benches and comput- 
ers, the mood is upbeat. Over 
coffee later, two postdocs did 
confess that Gilbert's "massive 
intellect is intimidating." If one 
is trying to cover up a weak- 
ness, they laughed, "it won't 
stay hidden long." Like others, 
however, they raved about how 


supportive Gilbert is in overseeing their work. At the crest of 
his career, Gilbert has not let riches and renown distract him 
from focusing on biology's future. 

"Wally" Gilbert came to biology after excelling in theoret- 
ical physics and math. The son of a Harvard economist, at 
age 12 he ground his own glass for telescopes and nearly 
blew himself up brewing hydrogen in the pantry. During his 
senior year in high school he boned up on nuclear physics 
in the Library of Congress. Graduating from Harvard in chem- 
istry and physics, he went to Cambridge University for his 
Ph.D, in theoretical physics. Returning to teach at Harvard, 
he switched to molecular biology and in 1976 devised an 
accelerated way to sequence DNA, which at the time was 
grinding labor. The breakthrough ushered in the age of ge- 
netic engineering and won Gilbert the Nobel in 1980. 

Continuing to study genes, he's focused on how they con- 
trol development and why they contain long stretches of 
"junk" that doesn't code for protein like the genes' active 
parts. Gilbert named these seemingly useless sections of 
genes "introns," arguing that they are the structural ties that 

the DNA of several bacteria. In the process, he's confident, 
he will speed up sequencing manyfold. 

Scattered throughout the lab are the huge screens of the 
SUN computers brought in to do the job. Another tool is a 
"confocal microscope" that takes photos, layer by thin lay- 
er, of a living Zebra fish's brain. But clearly the most power- 
ful tool remains the Gilbert mind machine. 

Gilbert talks with endless patience of his experiments and 
other scientific topics, but he rarely makes small talk. The 
interview' began -with a reporter's nightmare — a jammed 
tape recorder. The machine was handed to Gilbert, and he 
got it going in ten seconds. — Anthony Liversidge 

Omni: Why did you drop out of the National Academy re- 
view group for the genome project? 
Gilbert: I tried to organize part of the genome project as a 
company because I thought it would be better done on an 
industrial scale. I think it will ultimately be done that way. I 
wasn't successful funding the company I tried to start, Ter- 
abase. Now I'm a cheerleader on the sidelines, participat- 





OF 1991 : 

"One man's junk is another 

Around 80 million bases 

man's treasure." 


of DNA 


AS OF 1993: 


About 120 million bases 

"Listing all the human 

BSmf ^IBfl 

genes will change 


the way biology is done. 


Ultimately one will 

300 to 500 million bases 

be able to deduce how the 


a year 

genes are controlled." 



H ./ - sH 


The same as the evils 

^K ^li«P j| 

"In the next stage 

of society: the herd instinct 

we will have all the genes 

and the lack of skepticism 

W/r " ; U 

in a database and 

available electronically. 


Biologists will have 


to go to the computer to 

"I'm fascinated with the 

w ^^H 

do research." 

molecular underpinnings." 

enable the "exons," to function. Genes evolved, he specu- 
lates, with introns assembling exons into progressively long- 
er, more complex sequences. Evolution, he continues, was 
primarily intron-driven — a theory that others hotly dispute. 

Controversy is not new to Gilbert. He outraged purists by 
leading the way from the research lab to the corporate 
boardroom. In the early Eighties he founded — and at 
$285,000 a year, was the chief executive of — Biogen, one 
of the first companies to exploit the promise of genetic en- 
gineering. Gilbert resigned from Harvard to do the job, but 
after four years, when Biogen was still unprofitable, he was 
forced out. He was welcomed back to Harvard with a new 
professorship, having made a fortune nonetheless. He is 
still a member of two Biogen boards. 

His business ambition not yet subdued, when Congress 
was slow in funding the human genome project, Gilbert 
stepped in. He tried to set up a private company to publish 
an atlas of human DNA within a decade— and copyright the 
results. Even though he couldn't get backing for that enter- 
prise, today he has a $2 million a year slice of Federal fund- 
ing with his Harvard Genome Project, which aims to sequence 

92 OMNI 

ing in running a DNA sequencing project as part of the 
genome project. 

Omni: How do you view the genome project? 
Gilbert: Today we try to identity a gene and then study its 
properties. That is fruitful when you look at an important 
gene, but mostly you're looking at one that happens to be 
under your nose for some reason. Today you can't take a 
global view — can't ask what are the genes that make up the 
heart, the brain. The list of genes that will come out of the 
genome project will be the tool that turns our questions into 
global ones. 

Omni: When will the 3.5 billion bases of the human DNA se- 
quence be deciphered? 

Gilbert: In 10 or 20 years. First we will have a genetic map, 
then a physical map of all the chromosomes. In five years 
we'll have the sequence of the first human chromosomes. 
In 15 years we'll have all the sequence, a list of the genes 
everyone has in common and those that differ among peo- 
ple. We know only something like a tenth of 1 percent of the 
sequence at the moment. 

Everyone wants a hand in the outcome, a piece of the knowl- 

edge. I expect the human sequence 
will not be done on one individual, but 
different countries will do different chro- 
mosomes. If you do a Japanese chromo- 
some here, and a French, German, or 
American one there, it becomes an ab- 
stract human. 

Omni: Are the people who are running 
the genome project keeping you at the 
bench because you wanted to start a 
company and do it all by yourself? 
Gilbert: Could be a little of that! You 
can't tell what people's reactions are. 
I can speak my mind more freely not be- 
ing deeply involved in the genome proj- 
ect. My view originally was that the 
genome project was a large effort that 
■ could be done by a company of 300 to 
500 people in ten years. Now the gov- 
ernment plans to use 3,000 people to 
do it in 10 to 20 years. The first step 
will be to set up the technology of 
cheap and fast sequencing. After that, 
it will be just a technical exercise that 
will be finished by companies. 
Omni: Will you ever go back to the 
world of business? 

Gilbert: I doubt it. Having come back 
again to the university, I am happily do- 
ing research. 

Omni: Why is a common aquarium 
fish'so popular here? 
Gilbert: The Zebra fish is a vertebrate 

like us, but unlike mammals, you can 
get at the embryo which grows last and 
hatches' within three days. The fish 
lays lots of transparent eggs, so you 
have a lot ot material to work with. One 
can watch everything developing: the 
formation of the nervous system, eyes, 
brain, and body. 

Carl is trying to inject DNA into the 
fish so the foreign DNA will integrate in- 
to and destroy one of its genes so we 
can identify that gene's function during 
development. When one tries this in a 
mouse, it's hard to see what happens. 
A mouse with one defective gene 
looks perfectly healthy because it has 
two copies of each chromosome. You 
need several mice with that defective 
gene and then mate them. Then a quar- 
ter of the offspring will have two cop- 
ies of the defective gene and show the 
mutation. But the embryo often dies in 
the uterus and you never see it. You 
can dissect the female and look at the 
dead embryo, but you can't follow its 
growth. With a fish, we can see that em- 
bryo, follow its growth, and see effects 
of mutations immediately. 
Omni: Carl injected a piece of foreign 
DNA into the first embryonic cell so he 
could observe that DNA function to 
make the cell fluorescent? - 
Gilbert: Yes, an exciting way of doing 

things. The embryo starts dividing; the 
piece of DNA is passed to all the cells. 
Carl is trying to make mutations in the 
wiring of the nervous system, hoping to 
see a single neuron light up. That 
would suggest the foreign DNA in a 
gene is initially turned on only in that 
cell. The fluorescent substrate leaves 
the embryo alive so he can see the pat- 
tern of expression— and grow up that 
embryo into a healthy fish. If he's lucky, 
that embryo will pass on the newly in- 
serted DNA to its offspring, and we'll 
have a line of fish with a mutation in 
this particular gene. We'll see the 
gene function and trace its effect. 
Omni: What kinds of questions will 
that answer? 

Gilbert: Issues such as how genes struc- 
ture an eye? How do you put the retina 
together? What is the nature of genes 
that tell nerve cells how to connect? We 
know specific genes are turned on in 
specific cells, but we don't know to 
what extent this happens. To construct 
something as complicated as our bod- 
ies, we turn on different genes in mus- 
cles, skin, and-so on to structure them. 
But what is the nature of a gene that 
activates in one nerve cell of the eye 
but not in the cell next to it? 

The brain has a whole layer of cells 
in the cortex that all look the same in 
the microscope. But on some level 
they're going to be different because 
they participate, differently in the think- 
ing process. They may be different be- 
cause the events the animal experi- 
ences makes the cells connect and 
fire together. That's a picture of the 
brain's structure by functioning. Or 
they may differ in what genes they ex- 
press. There is a great argument over 
whether one- structures the brain one 
way or another. It's a core question in 
neurobiology If the connection is be- 
tween axon and;cell body, then the 
more you fire the axon, the stronger the 
connection. No one knows how. May- 
be genes turn on £nd off biochemical 
processes that .make more materials in 
the cell. Is the' ease of turning those 
genes on and off the same in all nerve 
cells? We don't know. 
Omni: Do you have a personal project 
in your lab? 

Gilbert: Nothing separate from what 
everybody else is'.doing. The major 
themes are various-ways to make the 
fish project work better and a large 
DNA sequencing project I've set up. 
We're sequencing a small, wall-less 
bacteria — mycoplasma — and expect 
about two years from now to sequence 
at a rate of five megabases, 5 million 
bases a year. That would be an entire 
bacterium a year, a hundred times fast- 
er than any single group now. 


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We should complete the sequence 
of the mycoplasma, this smallest free- 
living organism, quickly, by late 1993. 
Then we will look- at questions such as, 
if we have a million bases of DNA, how 
can we identify the 500 or so genes 
that make up the organism and under- 
stand what they all do? We can learn 
about the pattern of evolution by look- 
ing at the structure of genes and com- 
paring the structure of proteins. 
Omni: Why are you preoccupied with 
this line of interest? 
Gilbert: In physics I worked on what par- 
ticles make up other particles. In biolo- 
gy, the similar question is how DNA 
makes a product. How does one gene 
control another? How does something 
you inherit from your parents determine 
your structure? How does DNA do it? 
So DNA sequencing was always excit- 
ing. The discovery of sequencing 
gave us the ability to look down onto 
the genetic material and see it. In a 
sense, the human genome program 
has the same theme. It is the ultimate 
answer. Nothing in the individual is 
more causal, more basic. 
Omni: How do you tell which part of the 
sequence is a gene? 
Gilbert: People are writing computer pro- 
grams today to solve that problem. But 
one can tell pretty well by recognizing 
the splicing sequences — sequences 
that code for amino acids have differ- 
ent characteristics from those that don't. 
The cell recognizes the areas where 
DNA should be transcribed into RNA 
through little sequences along the DNA 
called enhancers. That we don't know 
how to see these features today 
doesn't mean we won't learn. 
Omni: Why .bother to sequence the 
whole genome if 90 percent of it 
doesn't code for proteins? 
Gilbert: Conventional wisdom says 90 
percent of DNA doesn't code for pro- 
teins. But embedded in that 90 percent 
are small regions that control how all the 
genes function, and we don't know how 
to find those small regions without se- 
quencing the whole thing. It's easier 
and cheaper to do the whole thing 
than to first find which 5 percent you'd 
want to have. The analysis, ultimately, 
will be very deep, layer upon layer, be- 
cause almost alr-the DNA has some mes- 
sage for us to interpret. 

Even the scientific community is con- 
fused about what's happening. Why do 
we do basic research? To learn about 
ourselves. In biology we've had to use 
simple model systems because our un- 
derstanding was simple. Molecular bi- 
ology used to describe just bacteria. 
Now we're working with the worm and 
fruit fly. We're about to move on to mam- 
mals using the mouse. So how does the 

human system work? In the future, med- 
icine will become the center of biology. 
The scientific community doesn't real- 
ize this yet. We'll work with humans and 
human genes. We've turned this corner 
in the last ten years. 
Omni: Will we be able to breed a su- 
perhealthy human race with sequence 
genetics 9 

Gilbert: The actual differences between 
people are of the order of about one 
change for every thousand steps along 
the sequence. Maybe 10 percent of our 
genes are slightly different. We don't 
know precisely which ones. We do 
know some places where the variation 
is. The idea that one can create a sin- 
gle subspecies that. breeds true and is 
superhealthy and so on is an illusion. 
The interaction of the variation in our 
genes is what's responsible for lots of 
our attributes and vigor. That hybrid vig- 
or requires that we receive different 
forms of genes from our two parents. 
Omni: But don't you have to do many 
sequences before you know what 
genes we all have in common and 
which are variable 9 
Gilbert: If we do one human sequence, 
we can know virtually all of the 90 per- 
cent that we have in common. That one 
sequence will probably be compiled 
from many people. Then we'll look at in- 
dividual genes where variation is unu- 
sually important. We know some of 
those places, .like in the immune sys- 
tem. In the whole cluster there are 
some that are different between people, 
and they control transplantation. Others 
that are somewhat different among peo- 
ple are involved in whether people are 
subject to autoimmune disease. Both ar- 
eas are studied intensively. 

The differences between people are 
what the genetic map will be about. 
That knowledge will yield medicine tai- 
lored to the individual. One will first iden- 
tify obvious genetic defects like cystic 
fibrosis. The next round of genetic map- 
ping will show us clusters of genes for 
common diseases from arthritis to schiz- 
ophrenia. We will be able to predict the 
side effects of drugs and tailor the 
right dose for each person. 

Ultimately your doctor will have a tit- 
tle test kit and send off a sample of 
your DNA, and somebody will run your 
entire sequence for him. In less than 20 
years, for a couple hundred dollars, 
you'll probably be able to take a piece 
of DNA from a baby and recognize ev- 
ery gene and whether it came from the 
mother or father. In the middle of the 
next century, say, I'll be able to take a 
little scrape of you and drop it into the 
machine and out will come the com- 
plete sequence. That will say, "Oh! 
You've got one of great-grandmother's 

genes here and a great-grandfather's 

gene there. You have a whole set of 

medical predispositions, and we knoW 

what Ihey are." 

Omni: So physicians will eventually 

just be technicians? 

Gilbert: They already are. The physician 

used to be a counselor of the 

Omni: Having oneself "summarized" 
will feel a bit weird! 
Gilbert: A philosophical change will oc- 
cur. A human being on a compact 
disci A curious image, both true and 
false. True in that if you made that se- 
quence, it would be a human being, 
and it is the rough essence of every- 

held your hand, looked at you, and body. But that sequence won't include 
all the variations between people. We 
tend to think of ourselves as having in- 
finite potential. But soon there will be a 
sharp border at which one says, "No, 
humankind is a finite product of a bio- 
logical system." We are embedded in 
a biological world and related to the or- 
ganisms around us. Biology will relate 

aid you were sick and comforted you. 
But he couldn't do anything for you. We 
already look on him as a technician 
with a set of tools and a computer. He's 
supposed to take a sample from you 
and run tests. If he doesn't run all the 
tests, you are ready to sue him. Patients 
expect a mechanical diagnosis and a 
cure. So now his 
problem is where 
to get the informa- 
tion for that cure. 
We are expanding 
the number of as- 
says he can do, 
and human genet- 
ics is part of the ex- 
pansion. We'll have 
genetic counseling 
in hospitals and clin- 
ics, first for people 
with genetic de- 
fects, then for com- 
mon diseases as 
they get ideriifiec. 
There will be the 
sequence, a pile of 
electronic data on 
a disk you can put 
in a computer. Five 
or ten years from 
now the information 
will be analyzable 
immediately. Scien- 
tists will think about 
it, and companies 
will sell analyses. 
Doctors will send 
them a sample of 
the patient's serum, 
and they'll look for 
genes that predis- 
. pose one to diseases: cancer, heart dis- 
ease, and so on. Eventually you'll take 
a little DNA as assay for everything. 
Omni: Won't this capacity to predict de- 
fects lead to social problems? 
Gilbert: A man may have to discuss the 
fact he has a gene for cystic fibrosis, 
say, with the woman he's going to mar- 
ry. The big question is, who should 
know that information'? Just the patient? 

Omni: How do you know that humans 
vary so little? 

Gilbert: Because the common an- 
cestors of all humans converged 
about 200,000 years ago. We have com- 
mon ancestors, and our sequences are 
all related. How many characteristics 
make up a body isn't known. There are 
roughly 100,000 genes, but each 
might have 10 or 100 different special 
characteristics, and the tenth of a per- 
cent variation may affect a large num- 
ber of them. This will become known in 
the next five or so years. 
Omni: How will the genome database 
change science? 

Gilbert: The genome project involves a 
paradigm shift. Biol- 

-J quality an 
ciSiOn styiing. Fountain oen, ballpoint 
bait trio-pen and penci- Matte-clock 
verione finish. Also wi— cold accent: 
fountain cen with 1 8-kcrat go c! nib 

every human gene to the genes of oth- 
er animals and bacteria, to this great 
chain of being. The human's place in 
the universe will be set in the scheme 
of evolution, the product of our biologi- 
cal 'inheritance. 

This will be exciting for scientists but 

a shock for the man in the street— like 

finding the earth is not the center of the 

universe. The danger is that people 

Oi does society nave a right to know? may adopt an attitude of genetic deter- 

Today we have a problem with HIV. 
my view, AIDS is not communicable 

enough to be a reportable disease, so 
HIV status should be private. Something 
passed on genetically is not communi- 
cable enough to be reportable, either. 

minism: "My genes limit what I can do!' 
This is not particularly true. All sorts of 
things are connected to how one func- 
tions in the world — how one's mind func- 
■ tions, how determined one is to over- 
come genetic difficulties. 

at f ■■si-level uxpcii- 
ments will have 
been done and ev- 
erybody will have 
to live with that. To- 
day one identifies a 
gene, clones, se- 
quences, makes its 
product, and does 
more experiments 
to understand its 
function. In the 
next stage, biolo- 
gists will have to go 
to the computer 
and know that first 
level of information 
before doing some- 
thing else. The sci- 
entist will form a con- 
jecture, then turn to 
experiment, with 
the database being 
one of the reagents 
he or she uses. 
Some people are al- 
ready on that side 
of the divide — com- 
puterized and think- 
ing that way. Other 
scientists are com- 
pletely on the first side; they see that 
something is happening, but they don't 
know what it is, and this is producing a 
big conflict. 

The people who isolate a gene. 
clone and study it, and after that do an- 
other one, are suddenly going to be un- 
employed. All those genes will be 
done. The fraction of information in the 
database is increasing tenfold every 
five years. Five years from now, there'll 
be ten times more information. That be- 
comes overwhelming. 
Omni: So gene jockeys will learn to 
work in virtual reality? 
Gilbert: Exactly that. For a recent paper, 
we attempted to see what the world 

looked like before there was a genelic 
code by working with the computer in 
an interactive fashion. We estimated 
how many genetic shapes there were 
originally in evolution that were assem- 
bled to make genes and found a very 
small number— about 5,000. There is lit- 
tle of this kind of research as yet, but 
one can see the signs. I recently 
heard a seminar on the molecular biol- 
ogy of a certain protein, and that 
whole burst of experimental work was 
suggested by a computer finding. 
Omni: Have you ever had a hard time 
because an idea of yours contradicted 
the current paradigm? 
Gilbert: That's extremely common. One 
major time it happened to me was 12 
years ago (and again today, because 
the argument is very alive right now). 
As we first worked out the structures of 
genes, we discovered DNA is broken 
up into exons, short coded regions, and 
introns, very long intervening regions 
not used for anything . Yet the whole re- 
gion is copied from DNA to RNA before 
the intervening regions are spliced out. 
This leaves a small molecule of final 
RNA that corresponds just to the cod- 
ing regions. 

Now, bacteria don't have introns — 
their genes are all continuous coding 
regions. When all this was discovered 

in 1978, I and Ford Doolittle thought 
about how we had evolved differently 
from bacteria. I suggested evolution start- 
ed off with tiny genes that coded for piec- 
es of proteins and that large pieces of 
DNA were assembled by adding in- 
trons, like glue, to tie the exons togeth- 
er. That was considered an outrageous 
idea for a long time. But the idea grad- 
ually got accepted. 

I argue that in the beginning introns 
were used to assemble the genes. 
Like other vertebrates and higher organ- 
isms, we are what we are because ev- 
ery now and then we make a new 
gene using this intron behavior. Introns 
speed up this process of recombina- 
tion, this breakage and joining of DNA. 
In evolutionary time of a million years, 
in some individuals that DNA will break 
in between those two, and those bro- 
ken ends will go find another end, and 
DNA will form a new combination of ex- 
ons tied together in a new order in a 
new gene. So the real role of introns is 
the ability to make new genes. The bac- 
teria have lost that ability and they're not 
evolving as rapidly anymore. They are 
essentially the perfect offspring of a 
much longer evolutionary line than 
ours. Ours goes quite slowly since we 
have a 30-year generation time. Bacte- 
ria-have a 20-minute generation time, 

so they're far more evolved. 
Omni: Biochemist Sheldon Penman of 
MIT flashes a picture of James Watson 
followed by a chimp and says, "There! 
All the same proteins!" suggesting in- 
trons may help determine what we are. 
Gilbert: The danger with. that flash is 
that we and the chimpanzee are about 
2 percent different in sequence. There 
could be 2 percent difference of our pro- 
teins that are totally unrelated, and we 
have no idea what that would mean. We 
don't know if a few proteins change crit- 
ical aspects of our structure. On aver- 
age, each protein has about one differ- 
ence in amino acid sequence between 
us and chimpanzee. All those minor 
changes may have an effect, or there 
may be 2,000 out of 100,000 proteins 
that are totally different and that have 
novel functions. 

Every time someone finds a basic 
gene that determines some aspect of 
brain structure, that gene turns out to 
be in the brains of all mammals. If it has 
to do with fetal growth or the structure 
of the body, it turns out to be'in flies and 
worms all over'the place. Yet many as- 
pects of structure, such as how big our 
brains are, are probably not a matter of 
how many proteins we have but how con- 
trol is exerted over where and when 
they are made as the organism grows. 
What determines the shape of a limb? 
In the chicken wing, a gradient of re- 
tinoic acid from.one side of the wing to 
the other sets up the digits, or bones, 
in the wing. If you put a pellet of reti- 
noic acid on the other side of the wing, 
you get a double set of digits. 

We haven't been able yet to deter- 
mine in terms of genes what makes a 
human being a human and not anoth- 
er mammal. It will probably turn out to 
have a reasonably simple answer. Fi- 
nally, we should be able to spot which 
of the 1,000 or 10,000 different facial 
types a person is from the genes. 
Omni: You are perhaps the most prom- 
inent scientist who has supported Pe- 
ter Duesberg of Berkeley, who argues 
that HIV might not cause AIDS. 
Gilbert: Today one looks at AIDS very 
much one way, as caused by a virus. 
A few people try to look at it other 
ways, not necessarily terribly convinc- 
ingly. And there is a reasonable level 
of scientific debate behind the 
scenes. The arguments for HIV as 
cause are not sufficient. I should not be 
surprised if there were a different 
cause. But there is a problem: If you are 
always reexamining your premises, you 
never get anywhere. 

Scientists tend to be skeptical, but 
the weakness of the community of sci- 
ence is that it tends to move into pre- 
formed establishment modes that say 

this is the only way of doing science, 
the only valid view. 

Omni: Are scientists too conformist iri 
accepting the ruling theory? 
Gilbert: There's a herd-instinct problem. 
The virtues of science are skepticism 
and independence of thought. I am to- 
tally horrified when Ben Lewin, the edi- 
tor ot Ceii, says science depends on 
trust. I feel personally insulted by that 
statement; it is totally untrue. Science 
doesn't in the slightest depend on 
trust. It depends completely on the be- 
lief that you can demonstrate something 
for yourself. I don't have to trust any- 
body, though i can choose to. 
Omni: Surely you can't redo everybody 
else's experiment? 

Gilbert: With everything I do, I am well 
advised to repeat the experiment I'm 
starting from. Anytime I don't, I've gen- 
erally regretted it. I am perfectly seri- 
ous! If I do an experiment that's too far 
into a novel line and don't verify the 
underlying step, then I'm being foolish. 
I may not have all the pieces. Some- 
thing may have been left out of the de- 
scription in the paper. I've had students 
waste a year because they were trying 
to do something where the original re- 
sult wasn't valid, and they didn't check 
the original thing exactly. 

Error is far more common than fraud 
which probably comprises 1 percent or 
a tenth of a percent of the literature. 
Your most trouble with fraud is where 
you can't repeat the experiment easily. 
A medical trial where someone says, "I 
have tested 150 patients" is hard to re- 
peat. The FDA does its best to look at 
all the records to double-check that. 
Cold fusion is different. Someone says 
they have cold fusion, and the whole 
world tries to repeat it. 
Omni: How do you explain Pons and 
Fleishmann's cold fusion paper? 
Gilbert: I found it utterly amazing. I use 
it in teaching. They were so sloppy; it 
was practically fraud. They claimed to 
get more energy out than they put in. 
They measure the heat input and only 
. calculate output! They don't measure ft! 
It's an observation on one side and a 
calculation based on estimating the ener- 
gy released inside the apparatus on the 
other side. Terrible thing to do. So care- 
less I find it hard to believe any journal 
published it. There's hard thinking and 
soft thinking. Softball thinkers: You have 
one guy who does the experiment and 
another who comments. Even softer: A 
third person does the experiment, a tech- 
nician in one lab, and both comment. 
Omni: Are you religious? 
Gilbert: I have the same sense of the 
power and virtue of knowledge that 
some people get from a religious back- 
ground. DO 

KICK A BARREL of Jack Daniel's the wrong 

way and no one will ever see the rewards. 

If it rolls to a stop with the bung down, it'll leak 

whiskey by the gallon. But our barrelman knows 

how many turns and partial turns 

each barrel will make as he fills up 

a rick. So he'll turn the bung to just 

the right position before he kicks a 

barrel. And it'll stop with the bung 

straight up. After a sip of our 

Tennessee Whiskey, you'll be 

glad we didn't spill a drop. 



and paralyzing the City of 
Peace. But how could 

be explained? Propo- 
nents of apocalyp "" 
said the storm augur — 
the end of the world. Me- 
teorologists pointed to un- 

trial visitation theory was 
forgotten only for awhile. 

On midnight of Friday, January 24, 1992, \ „ 

reported a mysterious, sphere-shaped object trailing 
a fiery tail in Sated, north of the Sea of Galilee, over 
Nazareth, and finally, as far south as the Red Sea and 
Eilat. When a local radio show carried a story on the 
listeners called in 
; throughout the nation de- 
scribed a "bail of fire and a tail of glittering light 
about two kilometers above ground." Estimates of the 
object's length varied from 40 to 200 meters, includ- 
ing the fiery tail. 

who received numeral ~ " 
__._ object. It definitely did i 
thodox characterizations" of the UFO, said Arbel, 
since so-called "flying saucers are usually endowed 

ometry. They are either i 

cal, or simply circular. In this < 

Haifa's S 
Departme..., ... 
sightings may have a spir- 
itual spin. Many of the 
Haifa sightings, she 

"It is possible," she suggests, "that the UFOs are 
meant as some sort of sign." 

Oded Regev, astrophysicist at Israel's prestigious 
Technion University, agrees that th" ™ -<■■-■ 
ign— that some of nature's subtle ...,. 
still be solved. "The sightings can have a I. 
ber of mundane explanations," he or — 
latest UFO over the Holy Land, he s 
have been caused by "a chunk of sate,,,.^ .^ 
ward and burning up in the atmosphere, a r 
or a low-flying high-performance military craft. 

"Ninety percent of UFO sightings," Regev a 
"can be dismissed as natural atmospheric pher — 
ena, optical illusions, reflections from celestial bod- 
ies, or even birds." Hadassah Arbel, meanwhile, 
finds vindication in the fact that even Regev admits 

,iere are unexplained." — W. E. GUTMAN 



A quarter of a century 
after reading Dracula, 
author and journalist 
Rosemary Ellen Guiley 
finally got a chance to 
meet a few vampires 
herself. In fact, more than 

1 self-styled 
vampires came forward to 
be interviewed for her i 

: of years old, and 
only half said they were 
bothered by garlic. 

As for blood-drinking 
habits, Guiley notes, "— ■ 
varied widely form va 
I " 

imbibed the red stuff or 
a week and some once a 

Penny Price and Rot 

abilities, which, he says, 
"have increased about 
»an *i™ s _" Penny, mean- 
alls Ron "a 
wonderful adviser," and 



;, sexy, and immor 
has supei 
pire of folklore in their 
minds," Guiley says. "" 

vampires Guiley met \ 

generally between the 
ages of 1 8 and 28. They 
tended to be introverted 
and, as children, had often 
been abused. "Very 
often," Guiley says, "they 
just wanted others to look 
up to them or feel afraid." 

Those who live the 
vampire life, Guiley says, 
usually dress in black, live 

animal blood. Others have 
developed monogamous 
blood relationships with 
another like-minded vam- 
pire. Yet others have 
turned to a tasty substi- 
tute — a mixture of tomato 
and orange juice. 

"People who believe 
themselves to be vam- 
pires live according „ . 
perceptions, both con- 
scious and unconscious. 

of how vampires sh 

live," says Guiley. "Vam- 
pires exist because we 
believe in them. We create 
them with our fantasies 
and thoughts." 

an international seminar 

1985 when the couple 
| met at an American 
n workshop in 
I fvtaiibu. Ten dates later, 
they were engaged. It 
wasn't long after, - JJ 

takes to love Ron and 
help him bring his gifts to 
the world." 

Penny and Ron i 

more closely: in the future 
"to help bring tr~ "" 

metaphysical institute. 
Penny is planning a 
series of video- and 


Arethe.~ „■ , 
Age children in the 


Jay Knudsen can't get 



Diners who paid up to 
ral thousand dollars 
ie service. "The price 
s," he explains, 


we 1 

ave to pick up the 
tins and where we 
to take them, 
etimes we need 
3S or special nonres- 


dent hunting licenses." 


of the Milwaukee-based 
National Funeral Directors 

favorite hunting dogs," 
explains K 

also puts the "cremains" 
1 fishermen 

hunters into de- 
j, and deceased 

iers and golfers into 

memorial bowling ba"~ 
and golf clubs. 
According to Knuc 

have been doing that for 
aqes." he notes. "This is 
iore creative. A lot of 

storing 1 

equipment. "But it it's < 

with the next of kin ar 

local ordinances," he 
notes, "I suppose it's all 
right." — Sherry Baker 


though you were being 
stared at behind your 
back, only to turn e 
'>'■ — iver that you r 

terns were observed for 

periods," says i 
er William Braud. " 
suggestion is that \ 
may respond ui 
sciously to the i 

it person, i 
if there is no direct, 

o's Mind Science Uv 

experience. In 

person under ob 


a follow-up 

. tionis notdistrac 


study. Mind 

more immediate 


searchers belie\ 

for further research 


through several shifts of physicists and 
finished by asking the group leader if 
he needed anything more. 

Carol had heard about Dickie Boy, 
but she had her own reputation, and so 
when they said hello, and looked each 
other over, I could almost hear the 
wheels turning, the question being 
posed, "Are you as good as they say?" 

We went to the terminal, and Carol 
rah the Monte Carlos as Dickie Boy sat 
almost squirming with impatience to 
have at what she was doing. When she 
■ got out of the chair, he almost leapt in- 
to it and said, "You two go somewhere 
else, okay? The other room's all right; 
just leave me alone." 

"I need to do some work ai the of- 
fice," I told Carol. "What about you?" 

"Yeah," she said. "1 should check my 
mail at the lab, see who's angry that I'm 
gone. You got another terminal with a 

"In the bedroom," I said. "I'll see you 
two later." 

At HBET I found a line of people wait- 
ing for me to talk about or approve 
their experimental arrangements, and 
so I spent the afternoon there, amid the 
chaos oi getting the SSC ready for its 
first full-energy runs, scheduled for 
just a month away. 

Carol and Dickie Boy were seated 
next to one another when I returned, 
with another variation on her Monte 
Carlos on the screen in front of them. 
"What's up?" I said, and Dickie Boy 
said, "This is fantastic." Carol was 

"Thir\K we can take it to Thursday 
Group?" I asked. 

"Tough audience," Dickie Boy said. 

"Is it the one that counts?" Carol 

"Yes, it is," I said. "If we can con- 
vince them, they'll go up against Diehl 
or anyone else." 

"Let's do it, then," she said. 

"Can you do a presentation?" I 
asked. "Good talk, good pictures?" 

"Yes," she said. "I've been getting 
ready to do it." 

"Fine," I said. 'Til call Allenson 
and ask if I can take over the agenda. 
I don't think anyone's got anything hot 

Bad haircuts, cheap clothes, and an at- 
titude — that's the way I once heard a 
gathering of theoretical physicists de- 
scribed. They — we — consider ourselves 

aristocrats of the mind, working in the 
deepest and most challenging science 

110 OMNI 

there is. Getting there first with good ide- 
as, that's the only thing that counts— 
under all circumstances, that was the 
unspoken credo. 

The whole group showed up that 
night. The living room of Allenson's 
house was shabby and comfortable, 
with couches, chairs, and large pillows 
enough to hold the sixteen of us: thir- 
teen regulars and me, Carol, and Dick- 
ie Boy. Eight Caucasians and five Ori- 
entals, three Chinese and two Japa- 
nese. Most were in their late thirties, 
though a few were in their middle for- 
ties. No one under thirty, no one over 
fifty. These were the'theoretical heavy- 
weights at the lab, men in their short- 
lived prime as it exists in high-energy 
physics. A few were drinking coffee; 
most just sat waiting, talking. 

i gave her the simplest possible in- 
troduction. I said, "This is Carol Hen- 
drix, who is here from Los Alamos 

haircuts, cheap clothes, 

and an 

attitude — that's the way 

I once 

heard a gathering of 

physicists described.? 

where she is Simulations Group Lead- 
er. She has some very interesting sim- 
ulations she would like to present to us." 

Carol Hendrix knew her audience 
She had gone into sexless mode as 
much as possible. Her face was pale 
and scrubbed, no makeup, and she 
wore baggy tan trousers and a plaid 
wool shirt — in short, the closest approx- 
imation she could get to what the men 
in front of her were wearing. From her 
first words, she spoke calmly and 
authoritatively, for they'd listen to noth- 
ing else from her, and allowed none of 
the passion I'd heard to animate her 
presentation. "■■ 

She gave it all to them, dealt it out 
on a screen in the front of the room. The 
slides came up showing pretty pictures 
from The Thing, equation sets from 
QUARKER, annotations in her own 
hand: Each idea led straightforwardly 
to the one after, theory and practice 
brought together with casual elegance. 

Leaving the last slide's END SIMU- 
LATION on the screen, she summa- 
rized: "We know little about the physi- 

cal attributes of a singularity; in fact, its 
essential nature is lawless." She 
stopped, smiled. "Though we would an- 
ticipate its interactions with the nonsin- 
gular world of spacetime to be gov- 
erned by the usual conservation laws, 
this may no! be the case ; In short, the 
consequences of creating a singulari- 
ty are not well understood, and I would 
suggest that further analysis is required 
before any experiments are undertak- 
en that could bring such a peculiar re- 
gion of spacetime into close proximity- 
with instruments so delicate as those in 
an experimental area." She paused and 
looked at them all, said, "I will be glad 
to hear your questions and comments." 

This is where it wiil happen, I 
thought. Guests to Thursday Group of- 
ten got taken on the roughest intellec- 
tual ride of their lives, as this group of 
brilliant and aggressive men probed ev- 
erything they had said for truth, origi- 
nality, and relevance — or the converse 
I went very tense, waiting for the on- 
slaught to begin. 

"Dickie Boy," Bunford said. If this 
group had an alpha male, Bunford was 
it. He was a big man — around six- 
three and more than two hundred 
pounds — with a strong jaw, a lined 
face, and sunburned skin. He had elab- 
orated the so-called Standard Model in 
new and interesting ways — the "semiun- 
bound quark state" was his particular 
interest — and the smart money had it 
that he and his group could pick up a 
Nobel if the SSC found the interactions 
he was predicting. "Did you validate her 
simulations?" Bunford asked. Rather an 
oblique approach, I thought, probably 
in preparation for going for the throat, 
theoretically speaking. Carol Hendrix 
turned to see how Dickie Boy would 

"Sure," Dickie Boy said. "Very 
sweet, very convincing. Take for in- 
stance the series of transforms . . ." 

"Fine," Bunford said. And to Carol 
Hendrix: "Thank you. If Dickie Boy vali- 
dates your Monte Carlos, I'm sure 
they're well-done." He paused. "The 
physics is interesting, too . . . though 
quite speculative, of course." 

And he stopped there, apparently hav- 
ing finished. 

I waited for him to go on, but he 
didn't — he was whispering quietly to 
Hong, one of his group members. And 
no one else was saying a word. Final- 
ly, Allenson stood from the pillow 
where he'd been sitting cross-legged 
and said, "Shall we make it an early eve- 
ning tonight? I don't know about you 
guys, but I could use some sleep." He 
turned to Carol Hendrix and said, "I'd 
like to thank our guest for speaking to 
us this evening." Murmured voices 




! GREWBOM.IK J7408. Ill ORHRS SUlfW=D WlffllN 4S HOURS. 


said much the same thing. : 'At a later 
time, perhaps we can discuss the im- 
plications of this work, bul this week we 
are all very busy getting the SSC up to 

Carol Hendrix stood white-faced and 
silent as all the men got up, nodded good- 
bye to her, and left, some alone, oth- 
ers in small groups of their colleagues. 

"I don't understand," I said. We 
were walking along one of the suburb- 
like loops that led from Allenson's 
house to mine. For the present, many 
of us lived in Texiab-owned housing as 
a matter of convenience. "They didn't 
even want to argue with you." 

"I'm an idiot," she said. "I forgot 
some of the most important lessons I've 
ever learned. In particular, I forgot that 
I'm a woman, and anything I say gets 
filtered through that." 

"Do you really think that?" 

"Sax, don't be so fucking naive. Why 
do you think they were polite? Because 
I was a visitor?' Her voice was filled 
with scorn; she knew as well as I did 
what treatment visitors got. 

"Your conclusions are radical. You 
can'i expect them to assent right off." 

"I'll grant you that, and it would 
have been hard to convince them of any- 
thing substantive, but I could have be- 
gun tonight. They dismissed me, they 
dismissed what I was saying. Bastards. 
Smug male bastards — it's no wonder 
they can't hear anything; they're so 
filled with their own importance." 

We stood in front of my house. She 
said, "I think I'll walk around for a 
while, if that's all right. I don't want to 
talk right now." 

"Sure," I said. "Go anywhere you 
want. In fact, I think I'll go for a bicycle 
ride. I'll see you later." 

So moonlight flashed through the bi- 
cycle frame as I rode the berm road 
above the SSC, and finally I realized I 
had no answers to what perplexed me, 
and I turned around and headed back 
toward home. 

I rode through streets of darkened 
homes and came to my driveway, 
where a light burned on a pole, walked 
the Invisible Bicycle up to the door, and 
went in to absolute silence. On a low 
table in the living room, I found a note: 

Dear Sax, 

I have gone back to Los Alamos. 

Don't worry about me, I'm fine. I just 
need to think about what happened 

Thank you for all you've done. 






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Over the next weeks, as the full-ener- 
gy trials came closer, I thought often 
about Carol Hendrix, her singularity, 
and the treatment she'd gotten. 

I went back to Thursday Group the 
next week but found I had little to say 
to any of them— the whole bunch 
seemed strutting apes, obsessed with 
their own-importance and show. If they 
were interested in the truth, and partic- 
ularly in new, interesting truths, then 
why hadn't they treated Carol Hendrix 
with the seriousness her ideas de- 
served? Her ideas were strange, but im- 
portant ideas always were. She was a 
woman, but so what? How could that 

All of a sudden, I felt a fool. Their con- 
versation excluded everyone not a mem- 
ber of the- group, and their masculinity, 
while entirely free of conscious malice, 
effectively recognized only its own 
kind. A young, small woman simply did 
not exist for them as a physicist to be 
taken seriously. 

I left early thai evening and decided 
I would not go back. 

But what I had seen at Thursday 
Group was everywhere at the lab. Sec- 
retaries were women, scientists and 
administrators were men— white men 
by and large, with a sprinkling of Ori- 
entals. Carol Hendrix was right: I was- 
incredibly naive. But I understood why. 
As a high-energy physicist, I had been 
devoted to what I thought of as an unbi- 
ased search for the truth, a search that 
creates intense tunne vision — because 
of how difficult it is, it demands abso- 
lutely everything you can bring to it, and 
often that isn't quite enough. Now I had 
awakened, and what I saw appalled 
and confused me. 

I got one note from Carol Hendrix, 
apologizing for leaving so abruptly and 
saying that she would write again 
when she had gotten her thoughts 
straightened out. Then, five days before 
the first full-energy, high-beta runs, she 
called me at the office. "Sax," she 
said. "I'd like to come watch the runs. 
Would you mind?" 

Carol leaned over me, slid her body 
down mine, pulled the gown over her 
head. She was astride me, hands at her 
side as she moved in rhythmic arcs. 
"The stars," she said. Through the win- 
dow I could see points of light strob- 
ing, red- and blue-shifting through the 
spectrum. "Something is poking 
through behind them," she said. "It 
wants in." A sheet of blue light poured 
through the window, burned through us, 
x-raying flesh and bone. In it we were 
translucent, the intricate network of our 
nerves burning in slver lire. We were 




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(using together, so close to an orgasm 
that would annihilate us. 

I woke, got up and drank some wa- 
ter for my burning throat, fell back on 
the bed. I hung suspended between 
waking and sleeping as a flood of im- 
ages passed across my- eyes. Bright, 
blurred shapes vanished before I 
could see them clearly. 

She was coming in the next day, the 
day before the first big runs. 

She wore khaki shorts and a dark-blue 
T-shirt. We were sitting in my backyard 
again, under a moonless sky — a thou- 
sand stars above us and meteors cut- 
ting brief, silent arcs at the horizon, She 
sniffed at Ihe glass of cold Chardonnay 
she was holding, drank, and leaned 
back in the reclining chair. 

"I owe you an apology," she said. 

"What do you mean?" 

"You did everything you could to 
help, and I walked out on you." 

"You were troubled." 

"I was, but I shouldn't have treated 
you like one of them." 

"That's okay. Apology accepted." 

"Tomorrow morning, what do you 
think will happen?" 

"Truthfully, I don't know. If we get 
good beam, we'll have the right condi- 
tions for your simulation." 

'That's what I thought. I've gone over 
it and over it, worked it through time and 
again, had a work group tear my anal- 
ysis apart. It al! adds up to the same 
thing: My simulations are realistic, plau- 
sible . . . and unverifiablewilhout exper- 
imental evidence. All of that's fine. 
What worries me is this: If I'm right, 
your people are going into what couid 
be a dangerous situation, and no one 
has a clue about it; no one wants to 
hear about it, at least not from me." 

"You've done cvorytning you can." 


"No, I mean it. Listen." And I poured 
it all out to her, what I'd seen in recent 
weeks, how incredibly closed and self- 
confident our world was, unbelievably 
blind about its own nature, which with- 
in the community was seen as inevita- 
ble. I'm not sure how long I talked or 
how I sounded — I just know that the frus- 
tration and anger and amazement I had 
lived with for the past weeks came tum- 
bling out in one long screed. 

"Oh, Sax," she said, finally. "You 
poor innocent." And she laughed, 
then laughed again, harder, and carried 
on laughing as I sat there embarrassed. 
Finally she stopped and said, "Some- 
times I get so wrapped up in all of this, 
I forget how things really are. Thanks 
for reminding me. To hell with them all. 
I've tried, you've tried. If the SSC's 
turned into the world's most expensive 

junk pile, it won'* he our responsibility.' 1 
We talked a bit more until we had fin- 
ished the bottle of wine; then she said, ' 
"When do we have to be there?" 

"Seven a.m. We should leave here 
around six-thirty, so I guess it's time to 
gd to bed." 

She tound me standing at the sliding- 
glass door in my bedroom, looking out 
onto the night. I turned and saw her in 
the doorway, backlit by the light from 
the hall behind her. "Are you all right?" 
I asked. 

"Who knows?" she said. She came 
across the room to me, stood in front 
of me, and put her hands on my bare 
shoulders. She said, "Want to make 
love, pen pal?" 

She leaned against me, and I could 
feel her body under the thin jersey. 
"Yes," I said. "I do." 

Through the night we moved to the 
rhythms of arousal and fulfillment; mak- 
ing love, lying together in silence, sleep- 
ing, waking again. All the frustration, an- 
ger, anxiety, excitement we had both 
felt the past weeks tunneled into those 
moments, sublimed into active, driven 

Shortly after five I was awakened by 
a sweep of amber light through the win- 
dow and the sound of wind. I found the 
groundskeeper robot outside. It had set- 
tled onto one patch of ground; its aer- 
ating spikes flashed out of the bottom 
of the machine, their blind repetition 
chewing turf into fine mulch. 

I said, "You ought to go back to the 
barn or whersve' Ihey Keep you and 
just kind of relax. Keep this shit up and 
they'll scrap you." It stopped and sat 
there emitting a low-pitched hum punc- 
tuated with occasional high harmonic 
bursts. "That's sensible," I said. "Think 
it over." It decided; It crawled over 
to a row of stunted ornamental shrubs 
and began to slice them into very 
small pieces. 

I went back inside, called the 
thing's keepers, and tried to go back 
to sleep. Instead I lay awake, thinking 
of what might happen that morning, un- 
til Carol turned over to me and whis- 
pered, "One more time?" 

"Oh yes," I said. "One more time." 

Around six-thirty we walked out of the 
house and ten minutes later were at 
Maingate shuttle station, where we 
went down into the tunnel with five mem- 
bers of a tech team. They wore orange 
overalls and helmets and had respira- 
tors dangling over their shoulders, pro- 
tection against any accident where he- 
lium would boil from the supercon- 
ducting magnets and drive the air out 
of the tunnel. 


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Harry Ling, the BC 4 supervisor, was 
directing people at the shuttle stop. 
"How's it going, Harry?" I said. 

"Ask me later," he said. 

At Experimental Area 1 , teams were 
making final adjustments to their instru- 
ments and hoping no last-minute grem- 
lins had crept in. The room was fifty me- 
ters square, dominated by the boxcar- 
sized composite detector. Inside it, the 
storage rings came together; at their in- 
tersection the protons and antiprotons 
would meet and transform. 

Two men were levering a bulky, ob- 
long camera— SONY in red letters on its 
side— into position at an external port. 
People picked their way through 
snarls of cable. 

Fifty meters up the tunnel was the con- 
trol room. It was on two levels: ground 
floor, where technicians sat in rows at 
their consoles, and the experiments com- 
mand above, where the Responsible Per- 
son sat with his assistants and con- 
trolled the experiments. 

I introduced Carol Hendrix to 
Paulsen, my assistant, who was 
crouched over his screen like a big 
blond bear over a honeycomb. "Hello," 
he said, then went on muttering into his 
headset — I often wondered how any- 
one understood him. 

I said to her, "Let's find you a head- 

120 OMNI 

set, and you can plug in to my console 
and watch what develops." 

The next hour was taken up with the 
usual preparations for a run: collecting 
protons and antiprotons in their injec- 
tor synchrotons, tuning the beams. The 
"experiments underway" clock had start- 
ed when the first particles were fed out 
of the injector synchrotron and into the 
main rings. Now the particles would be 
circling in the rings at a velocity near 
the speed of light, their numbers build- 
ing until there were enough for a suffi- 
ciently violent collision. 

"I have initiated the command se- 
quence," Diehl said on the head- 

About a minute later a voice said, 
"We're getting pictures," and there was 
a round of sporadic clapping from the 
people on the ground floor. On one of 
the screens in front of us, QUARKER 
was providing near-realtime views of the 
collisions, which appeared as elaborate 
snarls of red and green, the tracks color- 
coded to distinguish incoming from out- 
going particles. "Beautiful," the man in 
front of us said. 

On the screen next to this one, data 
flickered in green type. I saw that ev- 
erything was, as they say, "nominal." 
Then all lights in the control room went 
out, every screen blank, every com 

line and computer dead. Under amber 
emergency lights, everyone sat 

And the world flexed, the wave from 
the singularity passing, the shape of 
spacetime changing. Puffs of gray 
dust jumped off the walls, and there 
were the sounds of distant explosions. 

Carol jumped out of her chair and 
said, "Come on," 

I took off my headset and followed 
her. We passed through the door and 
into the tunnel, where settling clouds of 
dust were refracted in yellow light. I 
stopped at a locker marked Emergen- 
cy and took out two respirators — false 
faces in clear o as:io with attached stain- 
less steel tubes. If enough helium es- 
caped into the tunnel, it could drive out 
the oxygen and suffocate anyone with- 
out breathing apparatus. "Here," I 
said and gave her one. 

The door to the experiments room 
was askew. Behind us I heard loud voic- 
es and the sounds of feet pounding 
up the stairs to the surface. Turning 
sideways, I slipped through the door's 

Blue blue blue blue, the slightest 
pulse in it, then suddenly as the con- 
jurer's dove flying from the hat. white, 
swords or crystals of it jammed togeth- 
er, vibrating as if uncertain, then turn- 

ing as suddenly to blue. 

The composite detector unit and sur- 
rounding equipment had disappeared. ' 
Carol Hendrix had become a translu- 
cent, glowing figure that left billowing 
trails of color as she moved. The world 
was a sheet of light and a chittering of in- 
human voices, high-pitched and rising, 

Etched images in gold against 
white, flickering, the reality tape shriek- 
ing through its transports as every pos- 
sible variation on this one moment un- 
folded, the infinitesimal multiplied by the 

Sometime later, hands pulled on me, 
dragging me backward across rough ce- 
ment to a world which did not burn like 
the middle of a star. My heels 
drummed against the floor, my back 
was arched, every muscle rigid. 

Riding the Invisible Bicycle past Build- 
ing A, I saw two men bent over the par- 
tially disassembled carcass of a 
groundskeeper robot. Sprays of optic 
fiber, red lengths of plastic tubing, and 
bright clusters of aluminum spikes lay 
in the grass beside it. One man was hold- 
ing a dull-gray, half-meter cube, the con- 
tainer for the expert system that guid- 
ed the robot and was the apparent 
source of its problems. 

The state of things at Texlab: Big sci- 
ence — grandiose and masculine and ■ 
self-satisfied — lay in ruins all around, 
shattered by its contact with an infinite- 
ly small point, the singularity. 

On the steps of Building A, camera 
crews and reporters had gathered. 
They just milled aimlessly at this point, 
waiting for the Texlab spokesman — 
presumably Diehl — who would have to 
come out and recite a litany of disas- 
ter, Then would come the questions: 
How did this happen? What does it 

As I headed out the perimeter road 
I was passed by lines of vehicles: vans 
carrying tech teams, flatbed trucks load- 
ed with massive chunks of bent metal, 
cars with solemn, dark-suited bureau- 
crats in their back seats. No shuttle 
rides today— the tunnel was strictly off- 

Near station 12 an orange quad- 
rupoie assembly lay next to the hole it 
had made coming out of the ground. 
Part of its shrouding had torn away to 
reveal the bright stainless steel ring 
that held its thousands of intertwined 
wires together, At other stations I 
passed there were stacks of lumber for 
shoring the tunnel, repair crews in 
hardhats milling near them. 

Little more than an hour after the med- 
ical team had carried me out of the tun- 
nel, I was apparently fully recovered. 
The rest of my morning had been 




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spent with me the focus of doctors, nurs- 
es, and lab techs. I had suffered an ep- 
isode of grand mal, an epileptic fit, 
they told me — apparently a reaction to 
the singularity, 

Today there were fifty-six injured, one 
dead, two more probably to die. The col- 
lider had been destroyed: beam pipes 
deforming and spraying those high- 
energy particles all over the place — 
explosive quench in the lattice, it was 

And Carol Hendrix was one of the fif- 
ty-six injured. A chunk of concrete had 
fallen on her. Skull fracture, assorted 
lacerations . . . Christ, While they 
were testing me at the Texlab hospital, 
she was being flown toward Houston in 
a medivac helicopter brought in by the 
Air National Guard. She remained in a 
coma, but for reasons that escaped me, 
her doctors were hopeful, so mine had 
told me. 

The men she had talked to couldn't 
listen, simply couldn't. She was a wom- 
an, her approach was unusual, her 
conclusions weird, and despite all 
their protestations to the contrary, the 
men she had spoken to were prisoners 
of their contexts, their presuppositions. 
Their scientific objectivity didn't exist, 
never had. 

I wondered if they felt as Oppenheim- 

er and company had on the morning of 
the Trinity explosion: bright light and EM 
pulse, shock wave throwing those near- 
by to the ground . . . then they all had 
to confront — whatever their jubilation, 
awe, fear, sorrow — their part in this 
thing, their complicity. 

At the above-ground entrance to BC 4, 
Texlab Security had placed on wood- 
en sawhorses a yellow plastic ribbon 
with the words EXTREME DANGER re- 
peating along its length. Several gray- 
uniformed men stood nearby. 

"I'll keep your bicycle for you, Doc- 
tor Sax," one said as I dragged it 
down the steps. "No," I said, "that's all 
right, I'll take it with me." 

Rusty iron latticework showed 
where chunks of the tunnel walls had 
fallen, brushed by an angel's wing. In 
the hard yellow light, the Invisible Bicy- 
cle looked cheap, a stupid toy. Which 
it was: just a thing of plastic and con- 

I wheeled the bicycle around the ply- 
wood barrier in front of the experiments 
room door and stopped to watch the 
blue white blue which continued to 
some rhythm we did not understand. Ro- 
bot cameras and recording instruments 
sat against the near wall. 

Reduced to primitive magic, I 

hurled the Invisible Bicycle at the 
thing, a burnt offering: take this, let me 
have her. It slowed in midair as though 
moving through heavy liquid and began 
to deform. It seemed to turn inside out. 
Now the Topological^ Bizarre Bicycle, 
no longer recognizable by shape or any- 
thing else as a human artifact, it was 
shot for a moment with rainbow colors, 
then was gone. 

Unmoved, the singularity continued 
its transformations. Here was the angel, 
inscrutable as Yahweh answering Mos- 
es out of the whirlwind, "I am that I am." 
It promised infinite levels of discovery, 
an order not inexplicable but complex 
and deep as the night. And it promised 
that for every fragment of knowledge 
gained, for every level of understand- 
ing surmounted, there would be pain 
and sorrow. How puffed up we be- 
come, filled with immense pride in our 
knowledge, and how quickly the uni- 
verse reminds us of how little we know. 

In the desert it was bright and hot. 
One of the security 'guards gave me a 
ride back to Maingate. OO 

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Washington, DC 1-8P0-458-0352 

The power to overcome. 

ceding as we fled toward it. 

One longs"to see out beyond this 
wall. What could one see? God lying 
along spacetime, contemplating it? 
Archytas, a Pythagorean friend of Pla- 
to, imagined going to the edge of the 
universe and stretching out his hand. 
He would feel empty space beyond the 
edge or some barrier would stop him; 
either way, the edge wouldn't be much 
of an edge since there was always a "be- 
yond." He concluded that the universe 
was spatially infinite. 

Aristotle objected that an actual in- 
finity was an impossible irrationality and 
made a peerless claim about it. He had 
no quarrel with any kind of infinity ex- 
isting as long as it remained only po- 
tentially infinite. A sum could grow larg- 
er, a universe older, a space could ex- 
pand without end, provided that the 
infinity was never there ail at once. 

For most of our everyday lives we 
live at the bottom of a well of common 
sense, or naive realism, which insists 
that what is counterintuitive can't be 
true; it's only the extravagance of imag- 
inative souis, charming but foolish. But 
if we are ever to understand what we 
call "place," "distance," or "space," 
then we must look beyond the ideas we 
have built from the sensory prejudices 
of our bodies. Spacetime, matter, are 
the abstractions we have made for our- 
selves to stand in for what more than 
one thinker has described as "concrete 
but unimaginably complex facts." 
Space and time may well be the way 
in which our bodies order incoming in- 
formation, or spacetime may turn out to 
be stranger than we can imagine. 

Perhaps the most stubborn example 
of "common sense" about distance 
comes from George Bernard Shaw, 
whose thinking was always a delightful 
mixture of sophistication and naive re- 
alism. For him space could not exist in 
the absence of air or water, and the sur- 
face of a solid object was always the 
end of a space. Shaw at one time doubt- 
ed that the sun could be more than a 
few hundred miles away. "The so- 
called interstellar space," he stated un- 
der cross-examination by J. B. S. Hal- 
dane, "has not the properties of ordi- 
nary space. It will noi conduct sound, 
nor can a human being move through 
it. It is therefore illegitimate to measure 
it in miles." 

It is somewhat encouraging that ev- 
ery claim in this statement was vulner- 
able to the experimental method, and 
has been settled. DO 



Make up your own absurd scientific theory for our latest competition 

By Scot Morris 

"Lukewarm Fusion." "Surviv- 
al Strategies Among Animal 
Crackers." "The Binary 
Abacus." "Dirty Dish Flow 
Dynamics in a Southern 
California Kitchen." "How 
Jell-0 Killed the Dinosaurs." 

These are some recent 
article titles from The 
Journal of Irreproducible 
Results, the oldest and 
best-known science-humor 
publication. Now in its 
thirty- seventh year, it has 
been edited Since 1991 by 
Marc Abrahams in Cam- 
bridge, Massachusetts. He 
has breathed new life into 
this journal that has been 
called "the Mad Magazine of 
the Stephen Hawking set." 

In one regular feature, 
real Nobel laureates answer 
such questions as, "What 
do you look for when 
shopping for a lab coat?" In 
another, there are reviews of 
research published in "other 
research journals" such as 
The Ladies' Home Journal 
and Vogue. 

One article included a 
proposal to preserve the 
Grand Canyon from further 
erosion by filling it with 
styrofoam packing puffs. 
"Cognomen Syndrome" pre- 
sented cases in which a 
person's name appears to 
have a causal effect on his 
or her occupation, such as 
Larry Speakes, one-time 
spokesman for the White 
House, and Lord Brain, 
British neurologist. "We did 
not do any statistics," the 
authors wrote, "since the 
conclusion is obvious." 

Susan Hewitt and Edward 
Subitzky issued "A Call for 
More Scientific Truth in . 
Product Warning Labels," 
which included such obvi- 

ous disclaimers as: 

WARNING: This product 
warps space and time in its 

of this product, in any 
manner whatsoever, will 
increase the amount of 
disorder in the universe. 
Although no liability is 
implied herein, the consum- 
er is warned that this 
process will ultimately lead 
to the heat death of the 

Last year, JIR announced 

the winner of the First 
Annual Ig Nobel awards for 
"achievements that cannot 
be reproduced or shouldn't 
be." The awards are named 
for Ignatius Nobel, a distant 
cousin of Alfred, originator 
of those more famous (but 
less amusing) science 

M is famous lor 
printing visual surprises 

taken from photo- 
micrographs, which are 
actual images seen 
under a microscope: a pollen 

grain from the 
common onion magnified 

4,400 times {top 
left); two plant protoplasts 

(middle); and an 

unusual arrangement ot 

smooth endoplasmic 

reticulum of mouse optic 

nerve (bottom left). 

awards. Last year, the Ig 
Nobel Peace Prize went to 
Edward Teller, father of the 
hydrogen bomb, for "chang- 
ing the meaning of peace as 
we know it." The Economics 
Prize went to junk-bond king 

Michael Milken, "to whom 
the world is indebted." The 
Science Education Award 
went to Vice President Dan 
Quayle for "demonstrating, 
better than anyone else, the 
need for science educa- 
tion." At the ceremony 
attended by four past 
winners of those other Nobel 
awards, -Marilyn' vos Savant, 
the Parade magazine col- 
umnist who is listed in the 
Guinness Book of. Records 
as having the world's . 
highest IQ, was. elected to 

the Posthumous Board of 
Governors. She received 
only an honorary member- 
ship, however, "because 
she is alive." 

In the spirit of the Journal 
of Irreproducible Results, 
Omni announces Competi- 
tion. #54: The Western 
Hemisphere may sink into 
the oceans due to the 
accumulated weight of back 
issues of National Geo- 
graphic. Automotive paint 
attracts supermarket shop- 
ping carts. Mobile homes 
attract tornadoes. The earth 
is Hat at the poles because 
of the wing nuts, which can 
be clearly seen on any 
desktop model of the globe. 

What we need are more 
theories of the type 
discussed here. Write your 
theory in 75 words or less 
and send it by December 
15, 1992, to Omni Competi- 
tion #54: Theories, Omni, 
324 W. Wendover Avenue, 
Suite 205, Greensboro, 
North.Carolina.27408. All 
competition entries become 
the property of Omni; 
none will be returned. JIR 
editor Marc Abrahams will 
assist in picking winners, 
which will be chosen on 
the basis of originality, 
humor, and brevity. The 
grand-prize winner will 
receive $100, and four 
runners-up will each receive 
$50. All five winners will 
receive free one-year sub- 
scriptions to Omni. 

For a one-year (six-issue) 
subscription to JIR, call 
(800) 759-6102 or send $21 
to The Journal of Irreproduc- 
ible Results, Blackwell 
Scientific Publications, 23S 
Main Street, Cambridge, 
Massachusetts 02142. Dd